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Retro Thing has a great article on recreating an archaic recording device to recover some old recordings. A while back Schenectady Museum curator Chris Hunter came across some old pallophotophone recordings from radio station WGY. “What’s a pallophotophone?”, you might ask. Also known as the RCA Photophone, it’s an early recording device developed by GE researcher Charles Hoxie.

Eventually Hunter meets GE Engineer Russ DeMuth, who recreates a pallophotophone from Hoxie’s original design and manages to extract some rather interesting recordings from the old media. Recovered are long-lost recordings of GE founder Thomas Edison, Herbert Hoover, Henry Ford, a recording thought to be the second oldest known sports broadcast, and the earliest known recording of the NBC chimes.

Recreating the RCA Photophone


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