Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 074
"The Amusement Record," Indianapolis Saturday Herald, June 15, 1878.
THE PHONOGRAPH is lending its ear--it has but one--to the people of this city at twenty-five cents a head at Wright's hall. It began its public receptions on Thursday evening. It drew, of course. It has been described in the auriferous halo of newspaper print so often that public expectation was at the most exacting point. In point of fact its performances fell below not only those of "Demosthenes and Cicero" but below the achievements of less celebrated orators. Still, it can do all that has been claimed for it. It can talk, sing, laugh and whistle, but on a somewhat infantile scale. Prof. Eli F. Brown manipulated it, and induced it to repeat several soul-stirring stanzas from Mother Goose, and some of Dr. Watts' favorite poems. He was obliged to scream into it, and it returned a mere squeak, which resembled the voice of a Chinaman more than it did the voice of the speaker. Still it articulated well, and as a talking machine is a marvel of inventive power. It is only three months old, and expects to grow to have a voice like a ringmaster. Mr. Brown did his best to disabuse the minds of his hearers of the great expectations they had of the phonograph's ability by explaining its modest achievements. When it repeated anything in a tone of voice loud enough to be heard distinctly all over the room, as it did once or twice, the audience applauded loudly. The exhibitor mentioned that the aureophone, which has been described by the wicked New York papers, existed only in the brain of Mr. Edison. It was not a reality--perhaps not a possibility. The telescopophone is also to be taken with considerable license. Persons who were seriously alarmed lest the phonograph was destined to invade all privacy and furnish the very walls with ears, can rest easy for a little while, until it grows to be a more dreadful machine than it is. They can scandalize their neighbors for a time yet without danger of the phonograph recording their every word with the diabolical intention of unbottling its information at an inopportune time. It could not possibly take down any sound that was not made directly in its ear. Unless its hearing improves it will not prove a dangerous foe to gossip.