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This week in 1878 (February 19), Thomas Edison received a patent for his invention of the Phonograph, referred to in the patent description as the first device to both record sound and play it back. Later that same year, he created the Edison Phonograph Company to sell the new machine.
Over the next few years, businesses and homeowners found many uses for the new device.
By the time U.S. troops sailed off to WWI, the Edison Company had created a unique model of the Phonograph that allowed the soldiers to take their music with them. Following the war, Edison made what may have been his first public use of the new machine, a recording expressing his pride in the soldiers and reminds Americans of the enormous sacrifice and contribution made by the other allied nations.
Material Source: Library of Congress
(ca. 1897) Man, two women and two children listening to Phonograph--Girl is holding doll and another doll is under Christmas tree--There is a sign on the wall, The Edison Home Phonograph, and a portrait of Edison. , ca. 1897. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/97504441/.
(ca. 1912) Thomas Alva Edison, full-length portrait, seated, facing front, between two phonograph cabinets, one of which is made of concrete. , ca. 1912. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/94504410/.
(1919, May 4) The New York times. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/sn78004456/1919-05-04/ed-1/.
AUDIO CREDIT: Edison, Thomas A. Let us not forget--a message to the American people." 1919. Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies, Library of Congress.
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