Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 073

"Edison's Phonograph," Indianapolis News, June 13, 1878.

About two dozen people, chiefly members of the press, witnessed a private exhibition of Edison's phonograph, at Wright's Market street block, yesterday afternoon, Prof. Eli F. Brown, of the High school, manipulating the instrument.  The phonograph is so far only a most wonderful toy, and not at all approaching the expectations had of it based upon notices from eastern papers.  The form of the machine has been repeatedly described and is as well understood as it can be without a personal examination of its working.  Its voice is for the most part muffled and indistinct, seeming to come from some far away cavern, and at its best its utterances are nothing better than those of the "Midgets" who were shown at Masonic hall sometime ago.  It repeated several selections from Mother Goose, sang a stave of "John Brown's Body Lies A-mouldering," and did some spelling, coughing and laughing.  Mr. J. B. Cameron played a cornet solo which the machine attempted to repeat, but signally failed upon.   In spite of its imperfections, it is probably the most remarkable invention of the age.  Though scarcely a beginning, it shows that sounds can be preserved and reproduced.  The phonograph is only three months old, and already so precocious that there is no divining what it may become in its maturer years.  Mr. Edison has already improved on this machine, and will soon put his new phonograph on exhibition.  The exhibition will be open to the public at Wright's block this evening.