We all know that technology is a double edged sword: it provides new ways to do familiar things better and can even create new needs that we never knew we had. (Who knew we needed to send strangers personal information about ourselves in blocks of 140 characters or less?!) But it also has a downside, including the loss of masses of information and images as technologies become obsolete. (Have you played that 8 track tape lately, or looked at those old 8 mm home movies?)
But sometimes technology can also work to save treasures that have been passed over by time. Such is the case with some recently restored radio broadcasts that were recorded by a pallophotophone. This was invented by Charles Hoxie, a GE engineer, in the early 1920s. Using 35 mm sprocketless film, each strip contained eight to 10 parallel soundtracks etched on acetate and nitrate film. Light bouncing off a tiny mirror exposed each strip of film and captured the sound. A series of the pallophotophone recordings were found by an archivist, but he could not listen to them without a player. Enter two engineers who developed a way to emulate the pallophotophine using modern technology. Two years later, the hidden sound emerged, including a speech by Thomas Edison from 1929.
To read the full article and hear the audio of Edison speaking, please go to this link: