The Edison Tone Tests

Episode Air Date: March 3, 2017
Artist: Marie Rappold
Recording Title: Love's Old Sweet Song

The opera house lights dim, the capacity crowd hushes…Then a voice, a high, bright soprano…yes, there it is…fills the air.

But the real fun starts when the singing stops. You see, the year is 1919, and the crowd is taking part in an Edison Tone Test. Before the lights come back up, they’re prompted to guess if what they heard was live, or a diamond disc.

Wax cylinders provided mankind the ability to reproduce sound. By 1912, though, Edison had clarity in mind when he developed the Diamond Disc. Grudgingly. Competitors had started producing flat records over a decade earlier, but Edison wasn’t convinced. Like that guy who held onto eight tracks just a bit too long…except he was the one making them! He produced both until 1929. In fact, many of the cylinders produced during this time, like this one, were… dubs from diamond discs. That’s a whole different level of stubborn.

You’ve been listening to Love’s Old Sweet Song recorded by Marie Rappold in 1919.

 

 

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