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May 11, 2015 AT 3:00 pm

Ghostly Voices From Thomas Edison’s Dolls Can Now Be Heard #MusicMonday

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The NYTimes.com has a fascinating story on how engineers have been able to access the audio from one of Thomas Edison’s most unpopular inventions without fear of damaging the recordings. The talking dolls ran for a limited time in 1890. While they’re are undeniably creepy, the recordings play an important role in the lineage of entertainment records, historians argue.

Last month, the Historical Park posted online three never-before-heard Edison doll recordings, including the two from the Rolfses’ collection. “There are probably more out there, and we’re hoping people will now get them digitized,” Mr. Fabris said.

The technology, which is known as Irene (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.), was developed by the particle physicist Carl Haber and the engineer Earl Cornell at Lawrence Berkeley. Irene extracts sound from cylinder and disk records. It can also reconstruct audio from recordings so badly damaged they were deemed unplayable.

“We are now hearing sounds from history that I did not expect to hear in my lifetime,” Mr. Fabris said.

Read more.


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