The first audio recording
Valdemar Poulson of Denmark invented magnetic recording in 1898. It was called the “telegraphone” and it was used to record telephone messages by applying magnetic pulses to a steel wire. The process of recording onto a membrane or thin paper was invented earlier, in 1857, by Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville. Called the phonautograph, at that time it could not, however, replay the sound. But it did inspire Thomas Edison, Emile Berliner and others to experiment with sound recording. In 1878, Oberlin Smith made the first mechanical recording of sound. Motivated by a visit to Edison’s laboratory, Smith recorded Jules Levy playing Yankee Doodle on a cornet. The patent for the invention of the phonograph was awarded to Berliner in 1887. But the recording format of choice would become the iron oxide-coated tape, a paper version of which was invented in 1927 by Joseph A. O’Neill and a film version of which was invented in 1928 by Fritz Pfleumer. It was Pfleumer’s version that was awarded a patent in 1929, heralding the age of the audiotape. The tape recorder, or “magnetophone”, was invented in 1936, the year that the Volkswagen Beetle was launched. In 1963, Dutch company Philips introduced the audio cassette.