In 1890 when sound recording was in its infancy, the days of wax cylinders, Thomas Edison produced a very short lived range of dolls containing hand-cranked mechanisms. Each had a recording of a child reciting a nursery rhyme.
Wax is a fragile substance and its only recently that a way has been found to get the audio recordings safely off the cylinders without damaging them, reports The New York Times.
Three recordings are up online in the article, and I can see why the dolls weren’t popular, they look really creepy and the voices aren’t exactly the most comforting either, which has a lot to do with the limits of the recording process. Still, its fascinating to see attempts for “interactive” dolls that far back – I think I still prefer the kind that just allow your imagination to run wild, and hopefully don’t cause nightmares!
Read the full article at the link: Ghostly Voices From Thomas Edison’s Dolls Can Now Be Heard
Image ©Collection of Robin and Joan Rolfs