View Full Version : Oldest audio recordings available online
09-20-2005, 05:25 PM
Where online can I find insanely old audio recordings? According to a teacher of mine, some Norton Anthologies come with a CD that includes Tennyson reading "The Charge of the Light Brigade". I don't know what the exact date would be, but it must be 19th century, back when audio recording was at its most primitive. So, where can I find something similar online? What's the oldest recording available?
09-20-2005, 05:31 PM
For starters, there's an 1890 recording of Florence Nightingale as part of the British Library Sound Archive (http://www.bl.uk/collections/sound-archive/listen.html) 'teasers'.
09-20-2005, 06:06 PM
Where online can I find insanely old audio recordings?
Here are a couple of links: The National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/edis/edisonia/sounds.html) has a good selection back as far as June 29, 1888.
And here (http://www.cyberbee.com/edison/cylinder.html) is a page with Edison cylinder recordings.
09-20-2005, 10:37 PM
I have heard horrifying recordings of singing by Alessandro Moreschi, the last living castrato. They're from the very early 20th century - not THE oldest recordings by any means, but pretty damn old. And pretty creepy. Here (http://www.archive.org/audio/audio-details-db.php?collection=78rpm&collectionid=AlessandroMoreschi)'s Ave Maria if you're interested.
09-20-2005, 10:41 PM
This site (http://www.tinfoil.com) has, among other recordings, a recording of the prototype for a "talking clock" from 1878.
09-21-2005, 01:36 AM
Well if it's old movies you want you will be interested in the open video project (http://www.open-video.org/index.php) which has movies from the 1890s to today, I think they have some sound bites as well.
09-21-2005, 08:10 AM
The G. Robert Vincent Library (http://vvl.lib.msu.edu/index.cfm) of the University of Michigan has tons of very old stuff, including U.S. presidents going back to Benjamin Harrison. Some of the vast library isn't online (the presidents are) but the stuff that is includes 1890 recordings of Big Ben striking 10:30, 10:45 and 11. (Running time 2.5 minutes.)
In addition to Florence Nightingale mentioned above, there's an 1890 recording of: "Kenneth Landfrey, the bugler who sounded the Charge of Light Brigade, resounds the same Charge for Colonel Gouraud at Edison House London. G. R. Vincent re-recording August 2 1890."
There's a collection of recordings NPR used in a series of a couple of years back called Lost and Found Sound. You can find these on NPR's site, too. This might be better because there would be more information on each recording.
Take SCUBA gear with you. Once you dive in, you may never come up for air.
09-21-2005, 08:50 AM
The American Memory (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/) digital collections at the Library of Congress have a bunch of old sound recordings.
Emile Berliner and the Birth of the Recording Industry (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/berlhtml/berlhome.html): 108 recordings from the late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/edhtml/edhome.html): 81 recordings, mostly from the 1910s and 1920s.
Theodore Roosevelt on Film (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/troosevelt_film/): has four sound recordings from Roosevelt's 1912 Presidential campaign.
There are about twenty other sites on American Memory that contain sound recordings, although most of them are from later periods. You can browse the collections with sound recordings here (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?format=Sound+Recording). There are also a bunch of collections containing old films, and they can be browsed here (http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?format=Motion+Picture).
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