Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s Phonautograms


As the first of my “ancient technology” posts, I am writing about de Martinville.  Most of my posts will cover my own experiences with exploring, restoring, and creating with historical technology and instruments.  However, de Martinville’s invention of the phonautograph will serve as a starting point for the journey.

de Martinville was able to achieve “tracings of speech”, but unable to play them back.  The sound files of Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville’s phonautograms, released in 2008 by the First Sounds collaborative, were created using Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s “virtual stylus” technology.  Here is a link to the First Sounds website

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