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What Led To The Invention Of The Phonograph?

989 words - 4 pages

During the second industrial revolution in the late 1800's, mass production and manufacturing of goods began to rapidly expand. With these changes also came a change in fuel sources, which began moving towards more modern forms such as petroleum and electricity. With theses changes in production and power came new possibilities and ideas. Many great thinkers became invested technological advancement by leveraging the changes that came with the second industrial revolution. Thomas Edison came to be one of America's greatest inventors during this time. While working on a way to record telegraph messages using paper indentations, Thomas Edison came up with the idea that conversation held over ...view middle of the document...

” Edison was surprised that the machine worked on the first try: "I was never so taken aback in my life--I was always afraid of things that worked the first time."

Edison's phonograph functions by collecting sound using a horn. The sound collected is transferred to a diaphragm. The diaphragm is then connected to a stylus which has an embossing point on the end. Early versions of the phonograph used tinfoil or wax wrapped around a cylindrical drum. When the drum is turned using a hand crank, the diaphragm captures vibrations from the sound being fed to it, which in turn vibrates the stylus. The stylus makes an indentation on the drum upon contact. Turning the crank in reverse will allow the user to play back what has been recorded. The indentations in the drum send vibrations back up the stylus, which are in turn amplified by the diaphragm and the horn.

Edison's phonograph came to light during what we know as the second industrial revolution. From the November 21, 1877, the day which Edison unveiled the phonograph to the public, Edison's phonograph would leave a lasting impact on the music, entertainment, and communication industries. He would also start The Edison Speaking Phonograph Company on January 24, 1878. This would be the beginning of a brand new industry of recording arts. Many forms of recorded media began experiencing certain degrees of success. For example, in 1922, President Harding used a phonograph to record himself making a speech. Recordings of voice and speeches remained popular, but music had become the best selling category of phonograph records by 1890.

From 1870 to 1890, a period during the second industrial revolution known as the Gilded Age, there was an enlarging gap between the rich and the poor. However, with the phonograph, people of a variety of social and financial status' were able to experience musical performances and speech privately in their own home for the first time. Unlike leaving your home and paying to...

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