Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 115

Reading the Phonograph Record by Sight

Nature, Vol XVIII, October 3, 1878, p. 599

MR. EDISON, the Polytechnic Review states, has made some experiments with a view to accomplishing of the reading of the phonograph record by sight; but although a fundamental form exists for each articulated sound, he finds it very difficult to free the record from what might be called accidental influences; for so sensitive are these markings that the same sound uttered by different persons, or the manner in which it is spoken, the distance of the mouth from the instrument, the force with which it is spoken, or the speed with which the barrel is rotated, gives a different form of indentation.  Vowel sounds appear to be but little affected by these variations as compared with consonants.