by Art Chantry:
from todays’ ‘writer’s almanac':
It was on this day in 1877 that Thomas Edison announced that he had invented a new device for recording and playing back sound, which he called the phonograph. He had been working on a device to record telephone communication when he stumbled upon the right design, using a stylus and a tinfoil cylinder. The first thing he recorded was himself reciting the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”
For the first 10 years or so, most people remained uneasy with the phonograph. Bram Stoker included the invention as a plot device in his gothic novel Dracula (1897). In order to help American customers feel more comfortable with the idea of playing back sound, the Columbia Phonograph Company commissioned a recording of marching music by John Philip Sousa’s U.S. Marine Band. The idea was that Americans couldn’t be spooked by patriotic music, and those recordings became some of the first successful musical recordings ever sold.