Making the Perfect Record: From Inscription to Impression in Early Magnetic Recording

Scratchy Noise

Smith’s response to Edison’s phonograph was written in a memorandum dated September 23, 1878, roughly ten years prior to the publication of “Some Possible Forms of Phonograph” in Electrical World. The memorandum is reproduced in Clark’s “The Magnetic Recording of Sound” (1999c, 8). Why Smith took ten years to publish his hypotheses is difficult to determine. One reason may be that by 1888 he realized he had neither the time nor the resources to dedicate to magnetic recording.

(This note comments on the page titled, “Responding to Edison’s Noise,” as well as the attached image titled, “Some Possible Forms of Phonograph.”)

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