Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 036
"Improving the Phonograph," New York Evening Post. Reprinted in the Indianapolis News, March 28, 1878.
The voice of the phonograph in its present state of perfection is that of a person talking in a loud voice in an adjoining room with the door closed. Any sound, no matter what, is faithfully reproduced. Laughing, whistling, coughing, singing and ordinary speaking. The invention is yet in its infancy, and what may be the improvements which will speedily and probably follow it is impossible to say. Mr. Edison has already succeeded in making the phonograph sufficiently delicate to record and reproduce the words of a speaker, talking in an ordinary way four feet from the instrument. The power with which the sound can be reproduced depends entirely on the species of sounding board which is used, and on this point more detailed results will probably soon be obtained. At present in a large room full of persons there is no difficulty in hearing the words distinctly in all parts of the room. The amount of talking which can be recorded on a small piece of tin foil is wonderful. Mr. Edison has succeeded in putting 48,000 words on a sheet of tin foil about ten inches square. So far, thin copper sheets have been found to work more satisfactorily, and it is probable that diamond points will ultimately be used. Mr. Edison is confident that he will soon be able to reproduce the slightest whisper as well as the screech of a steam whistle.