Edison Experimental Recording Phonograph


World's first practical sound recording machine

Edison's simple and unprecedented instrument allowed for the first time the permanent recording and reproduction of sound, especially the human voice. On December 6, 1877, Edison put tinfoil around the cylinder, turned the handle of the shaft and, shouting into one of the diaphragms, recorded a verse of Mary Had a Little Lamb "almost perfectly." From this machine evolved the phonographs and record industries of the world. Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) has become an American folk hero for this and other innovations, which have increased the enjoyment of life for people throughout the world.

Replica of a 1877 prototype Edison "Kruesi" tinfoil phonograph

For More Information

Edison Natl. Historic Site
Main St. and Lakeside Ave.
West Orange, NJ 07052

Visiting Hours:

Regular hours

Related Links:

Edison Phonograph Museum (in Quebec):

Edison Birthplace site:

Library of Congress' American Memory site on Edison:

Ceremony Notes:

July 1981