An Evening With Edison, an article on a demonstration of the phonograph, from the June 4, 1878 NY Times

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The New York Times, June 4, 1878, p. 5:

AN EVENING WITH EDISON.

WHAT THE PHONOGRAPH CAN DO.

ITS INVENTOR'S PRACTICED HAND MAKES IT SING
IN TIME AND TUNE—IT REPEATS LEVY'S HARMONY
AND THE BABBLING OF A CROWD—

A PLEASANT TIME
AT THE TRIAL OF THE NEW ORGAN FOR
ST. PAUL'S PROTESTANT EPISCOPAL CHURCH IN ROME.
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    In Irving Hall stands a beautiful organ, erected there temporarily, for exhibition and trial, before being shipped to Rome, Italy, its ultimate destination. There it is to be placed in the new Protestant Episcopal Church of St. Paul. It was built by Mr. Hilborne Roosevelt, of this City, and is a triumph of mechanical workmanship...
    It has 12 registers in the great organ, 12 in the swell organ, and 5 in the pedal organ. It has also 6 couplers, with 4 combination pedals. The diapasons are round, deep, and very fine. The reeds, made on the French plan, are peculiarly brilliant.
    An exhibition of its powers, last evening, attracted a full house, and was a gratifying success...

    The feature of the evening, however, was an exhibition of Edison's Phonograph, and a subsequent reception to the distinguished inventor himself. On a platform beside the organ were placed two phonographs, one of which was made to utter an address of welcome to the assembled audience, while the other declaimed, "Now is the Winter of our discontent made glorious Summer," &c., n the queer, piping, tones of a Punch and Judy show.

    Levy then appeared upon the platform, cornet in hand. He was greeted with a storm of applause, which he answered by playing into the receivers of the phonographs "Yankee Doodle," "Rory O'Moore," "Old Folks at Home," "Star Spangled Banner," and "We Won't Go Home till Morning."
    The clear notes and intricate variations were repeated by the magical instrument so distinctly as to be audible in the remotest portions of the hall. Owing, however, to the crank being turned by hand instead of by clock-work, and the constant irregularity of the motion, the key was changed, and many discords and false intonations were introduced that caused Levy to writhe in his chair, and sent shudders through the audience.

    After this performance the major portion of the audience departed, leaving a select party, to the number 100 or so, who were invited into an adjoining room, to meet Mr. Edison.
    He, with smooth, boyish face, firmly-compressed lips, deep-set eyes, in which is a far-away look, grizzled, unkempt hair, and massive head, was found intent upon one of his favorite instruments, apparently oblivioius to his surroundings.

    He was introduced by Mr. Roosevelt, who stated that he had almost been obliged to use force to drag the inventor from his work. Mr. Edison bowed, said nothing, but looked much pleased. He then deftly adjusted a broad strip of tin foil to his latest and most improved phonograph, which he had brought with him, and proceeded to show his visitors what it could do when manipulated by the master-hand of him whose brain had conceived it.

    Into its tiny mouth-piece he sang "John Brown" in a deep, sonorous voice. A long funnel was then adjusted to the mouthpiece, and, clear and full, the tones were repeated, as he had sung them.
    Then he and Mr. Roosevelt--the latter singing tenor--sang a duet, their heads together, and their mouths close to a gutta-percha funnel, connected with the mouth-piece. In the repetition of the song by the instrument both parts were clearly defined.

    Mr. Edison again sat alone at the instrument, and told half a dozen stories to the same piece of tinfoil. He repeated a verse of "Bingen on the Rhine," which he followed with "Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub." Then he whistled to it two separate tunes, and finally, Levy played to it upon his cornet.
    The result was a babble of declamation, nonsense, whistling, and corneting, as though half a dozen persons were concealed within the funnel, each of whom could be distinguished at times above the others.

    To show the regularity with which the crank of the machine is turned is everything in attaining correct reproduction of sounds, Mr. Edison invited Levy to play once more into the instrument, while he turned the crank, his practiced hand moving with the regularity of a machine.
    The result was a revelation to those who had heard the previous attempts in the hall. The key in which the air had been played was perfectly retained; there were no more false intonations, and even Levy himself was satisfied.

    To further show what the phonograph could be made to do by an inexperienced operator, Mr. Edison turned the crank very rapidly and irregularly. The result was the pitching of the tune an octave higher, and a horrible oombination of discords.

    At 12 o'clock the party broke up, for Mr. Edison said that he must get home and back to work. His guests departed, bearing with them the most agreeable impression of the personality of the man, and a profound respect for his genius.

    Just as they left he caused his machine to utter the plaintive howls of a dog, of which the imitation was perfect.
 
 
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An Evening With Edison 1878
Phono to Production 1888-94
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The Wireless Telegraph 1899
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Music by Wireless 1907
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Telegraph-Electricity History 1852
The Atlantic Telegraph Cable 1866

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