Sounds of the Past
Okay, I thought this was really cool.
It seems researchers have found the *real* first recording of sound, scratched in soot on waxpaper... written in smoke. This recording predates Edison's legendary "Mary Had a Little Lamb" recording by several years. At the end of the linked article is a link to the actual sound itself. It doesn't sound like much. In fact it isn't clear at all. Still you can hear that it's a human voice, at least, sort of like hearing sound through water, or in this case, smoke.
Here's the thing that is surreal to me. This lady's voice is one of the myriad sounds of the year 1860. Eighteen-Sixty. Abraham Lincoln won't be elected president for the first time until the end of the year. Martin Van Buren, the 8th President of the United States, is still alive (and still will be for two more years.) Victoria is Queen of Great Britain. Napoleon III is Emperor of France. The Pony Express has just begun. The Second Opium War is ending in China. Charles Dickens will publish the first installment of the now classic GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Anton Chekhov, Lizzie Borden, Annie Oakley, General John Pershing, and Billy the Kid have all just been born. Charles Goodyear and Arthur Schopenhauer have just died.
And this young lady is singing Au Clair de la Lune in the smoke, the sounds of her voice captured for us to hear, however rough and faint, nearly 150 years later.