Researchers in France have discovered what they believe to be the oldest surviving recording of the human voice. (The audio is here, but the clip spends more time on blabbering researchers than on the actual recording.)
An "ethereal" 10 second clip of a woman singing a French folk song has been played for the first time in 150 years.
The recording of "Au Clair de la Lune", recorded in 1860, is thought to be the oldest known recorded human voice.
A phonograph of Thomas Edison singing a children's song in 1877 was previously thought to be the oldest record.
The new "phonautograph", created by etching soot-covered paper, has now been played by US scientists using a "virtual stylus" to read the lines. ...
The short song was captured on April 9, 1860 by a phonautograph, a device created by a Parisian inventor, Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville.
The device etched representations of sound waves into paper covered in soot from a burning oil lamp.
Lines were scratched into the soot by a needle moved by a diaphragm that responded to sound. The recordings were never intended to be played.
This is one of the coolest things I've encountered in a long time. Despite the existence of thousands of photographs from the same era, there's something hauntingly immediate about actually hearing a little French girl's voice across so many years.