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        Edison Speaks Into a Phonograph, 1888

        This historic photograph shows Thomas Edison speaking into one of his phonograph machines. Invented in 1877, Thomas Edison’s phonograph was the first machine to capture sound and play it back. The inspiration for it came out of his work on the telegraph and the telephone. The first words spoken into the phonograph were, “Mary had a little lamb.” On hearing his words spoken back, Edison said, "I was never so taken aback in my life. I was always afraid of things that worked the first time." This resource is part of the Thomas Edison Collection.

        Learn more about Edison's youth and early work with the telegraph in this biography - Student Reading: Edison Biography.

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