Hear The Voice Of Alexander Graham Bell, The Inventor Of Telephone, In This Newly Discovered 130-Year Old Recording (Video & Audio)

By Gopi Chandra Kharel on April 29, 2013 2:21 AM EDT

Alexander Graham Bell
Portrait of Alexander Graham Bell (Photo: Wikipedia)

Alexander Graham Bell, best known for inventing the telephone and methods of sound recording, was never aware that the voice he recorded in 1885 would be hidden in dark secrecy to be discovered 130 years later,-in an age his 'telephone' had long become obsolete with people busking in the ultra-luxury wireless and sophisticated devices such as iPhone, iPad and innovative computers.

But the identification of his voice does one thing -- it allows the present generation to hear the voice of the man who first allowed us to hear ours. For the first time, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History has identified voice of the man who redefined the meaning of distance. He was a Scottish man who lived a considerable part of his life in the United States.

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Among 200 of the earliest audio recordings amassed from Bell's Washington, D.C., Volta laboratory, they discovered a loose piece of paper in which a transcript of a recording was uncovered. The transcript that ends with "in witness wherof, hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell" was dated April 15, 1885. This was matched with a recently discovered wax-covered disc recording that carried the initial "AGB" and the same date found in the transcript.

The disc was reprocessed for recovering the sound present in it. The audible sound thus exposed matched with the transcript.

"Identifying the voice of Alexander Graham Bell - the man who brought us everyone else's voice - is a major moment in the study of history," John Gray, director of the museum said in a release. "Not only will this discovery allow us to further identify recording in our collection, it enriches what we know about the late 1800s - who spoke, what they said, how they said it - and this formative period for experimentation in sound."

The recordings were among hundreds of experimental discs transcripts the inventor left with the Smithsonian most probably to protect against a patent dispute.

"They're all different materials," Shari Stout, collections manager at the Museum told the NPR News. "Sometimes they use plaster, sometimes tinfoil, things that look like cardboard - it's very bizarre."

The recordings lived collecting layers of dusts for more than a century and they have been too delicate for experts to haul out the sound, until they started using a new technology to extract the recordings.

"This is new technology that's been developed by our partners at the Lawrence Berkeley Lab; it's a non-invasive technology using lasers," Stout told the news outlet. "They started out recovering commercial records. It turns out our curator read about it in The New York Times"

In the newly discovered voice of Bell, he appears to be coining various numbers in succession. Although the voice appears to be scratchy, we know what he was saying since the script matched exactly with the voice. At one point, he starts reading dollars denominations. He clearly articulates his name at the end with wide-enough gaps between the three names in a monotonous sounding Scottish accent.

Hear the voice and see the transcript in the video below:

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