Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 007
"Kisses By Phonograph. The Limitless
Possibilities of That Recording Instrument."
New York Times, December 3, 1888, p. 8.
The Arion Singing Society of Newark held a rehearsal at Thomas A. Edison's West Orange laboratory yesterday afternoon and sang to the phonograph. Behind the conductor, Frank Van der Stucken, were three big funnels, respectively 19, 9, and 5 feet long, leading to as many phonographs. Mr. Wangemann and three other assistants adjusted the instruments, Mr. Edison being only a spectator and listener. The phonographs, by means of branched ear tubes, repeated the concert afterward to 150 people "in blocks of five." This was the first experiment with so large a chorus (65 men,) and the result was very satisfactory. The vocal parts were reproduced very distinctly indeed, and every effect of light and shade seemed as effective as when given under Mr. Van der Stucken's direction.
Ever since the more or less "perfected" phonograph was given to the world last Spring experiments have been kept up at the laboratory. A substance more durable than wax has been found for the record cylinders. Now, the instrument is so sensitive that any gasp or yawn is recorded. It will distinguish between the breathing of a healthy man or a consumptive and record the beating of the heart. One of the little wax cylinders details an interview between two lovers, and persons of experience said yesterday that the kisses were reproduced with tantalizing accuracy and fervor. The instrument was taken to a Thomas concert the other night, and now one may hear an entire concerto, (with Joseffy at the piano.) Possible facilities are thus afforded for stealing a new opera or for transmitting instructions as to the interpretation of music and dialogue. Already Miss Farren and Mr. Leslie of the London Aiety troupe have sung special songs to the instrument, and the "phonograms" have been mailed to the manager of the London Theatre at his direction. The ear tube is not an indispensable adjunct to the phonograph. The sound is transmitted through a 12-inch funnel so loudly that a grand piano may be played in duet with it. It provided music for a private dancing party in London not long ago.