The history of sound recording, and reproduction was changed forever in 1850 with the discovery of the first phonoautograph constructed by the Frenchman Edouard-Leon Scott de Martenville, a printer and bookseller, inspired by a text on the anatomy of the human ear. His phonoautograph was made as an analogue of the auditory canal, eardrum, and bones. The functions of the auditory canal and eardrum were simulated using a funnel-like horn with a flexible parchment membrane. The pig bristle was connected to the membrane and served as a reinforcing lever. The bristle created a line by a thin coating of black paint on paper or glass. The sound that the simulated ear collected and transmitted to the bristles created a graphic record of sound waves. The later form of the phonoautograph consisted of a membrane on which a needle was mounted. On the opposite side, it was in contact with the roller (cylinder) on which the rolled paper was located. The recorded sound led to the vibration of the diaphragm, and then to the oscillations of the needle, which engraved the sound on the cylinder. The phonoautograph could visually record the sound but could not reproduce it. The first and oldest sound recording in history was recorded on this device – the French folk song “Au clair de la lune”. The phonoautograph is considered to be the forerunner of the phonograph, graphophone and later gramophone.

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