From 1977: The Development of the Record Industry – by Brian Rust

PART 1: THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

THE beginning of the story of records and recording is claimed by some to reach back to ancient China, where a prince is said to have invented a box that would carry the human voice and reproduce it to anyone receiving the box; others instance the legend of Thomas Aquinas, who was so terrified by a talking invention demonstrated to him in the mid-thirteenth century by its Creator, that he hit it with his staff and destroyed the work of thirty years. In the mid-nineteenth century, Leon Scott devised a method of recording, but no apparent playback method; but it was not until 1877 that an impoverished French poet named Charles Cros, also something of a scientist, set down a method of recording sound in a groove on a lampblacked glass disc, and deposited the paper with the Academic des Sciences on April 30th. Unable to finance the patent costs, his idea remained no more than that until after the American inventor, Thomas Alva Edison, that same year succeeded in indenting sound on a cylinder covered with tin-foil.

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