1878 audio recording unveiled

The modern masses can now listen to what experts say is the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the first-ever capturing of a musical performance, thanks to digital advances that allowed the sound to be transferred from flimsy tinfoil to computer. The recording was originally made on a Thomas Edison-invented phonograph in St. Louis in 1878.

Josh Hauk, an archival assistant at the Museum of Innovation and Science, demonstrates the use of an 1879 tinfoil phonograph on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in Schenectady, N.Y. Researchers have digitized what experts say is the oldest recording of a playable American voice and history’s first-ever recorded musical performance, along with the first recorded blooper. Recorded on a sheet of tinfoil on a phonograph invented by Thomas Edison, the recording was made in St. Louis in 1878. It contains a short coronet solo of an unidentified song, followed by the voices of a man reciting popular nursery rhymes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

Chris Hunter, curator at the Museum of Innovation and Science, plays a 1878 tinfoil recording on a computer on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in Schenectady, N.Y. Researchers have digitized what experts say is the oldest recording of a playable American voice and history’s first-ever recorded musical performance, along with the first recorded blooper. Recorded on a sheet of tinfoil on a phonograph invented by Thomas Edison, the recording was made in St. Louis in 1878. It contains a short coronet solo of an unidentified song, followed by the voices of a man reciting popular nursery rhymes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

An 1879 tinfoil phonograph is displayed at the Museum of Innovation and Science, on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in Schenectady, N.Y. Researchers have digitized what experts say is the oldest recording of a playable American voice and history’s first-ever recorded musical performance, along with the first recorded blooper. Recorded on a sheet of tinfoil on a phonograph invented by Thomas Edison, the recording was made in St. Louis in 1878. It contains a short coronet solo of an unidentified song, followed by the voices of a man reciting popular nursery rhymes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

A tinfoil sheet recording made on a phonograph which was invented by Thomas Edison and recorded in St. Louis in 1878 is displayed at the Museum of Innovation and Science on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, in Schenectady, N.Y. Researchers have digitized what experts say is the oldest recording of a playable American voice and history’s first-ever recorded musical performance, along with the first recorded blooper. It contains a short coronet solo of an unidentified song, followed by the voices of a man reciting popular nursery rhymes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

This photo provided by the Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady, N.Y., shows Thomas Edison's 1878 tinfoil phonograph. Researchers have digitized what experts say is the oldest recording of a playable American voice and history’s first-ever recorded musical performance, along with the first recorded blooper. Recorded on a sheet of tinfoil on a phonograph invented by Thomas Edison, the recording was made in St. Louis in 1878. It contains a short coronet solo of an unidentified song, followed by the voices of a man reciting popular nursery rhymes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

This 1888 photo provided by the Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady, N.Y., shows Thomas Edison listening to a wax cylinder phonograph. Researchers have digitized what experts say is the oldest recording of a playable American voice and history’s first-ever recorded musical performance, along with the first recorded blooper. Recorded on a sheet of tinfoil on a phonograph invented by Thomas Edison, the recording was made in St. Louis in 1878. It contains a short coronet solo of an unidentified song, followed by the voices of a man reciting popular nursery rhymes. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)