Wednesday, July 21, 2010

New (Old) Wax Cylinder Recordings

I am on a bit of a roll at the moment looking around various news websites for stories that relate to the history of technology.  Forgive me if this gets to be too much.  This phase will probably pass rather quickly.

I just read a very interesting story about recording on wax cylinders.  Now, this was not news in the late 1800s or even the early 1900s but it IS news if you want to do it today.  A British Steampunk band called The Band That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing, who loves all things Victorian, decided to release 40 copies of their new CD on wax cylinders.  However, they did not release a wax cylinder player thus the crew at the BBC Technology website decided to "give it a go" (as the Brits might say) and build their own wax cylinder record player.  You can see the results in the video below:

You can also read the full story at the BBC website here.

Thomas Edison (pictured above with his first recording device) was dubbed the Wizard of Menlo Park, not because of his electric lights, but because of his invention for mechanically capturing sound for the first time in history.  He thought his invention would be most useful as a stenographic tool for business and actually frowned upon the idea of using it for entertainment purposes.  But technology has this habit of morphing into forms that users want rather than what inventors conceive.  Clearly, the customers had spoken (no pun intended).


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