123-year-old first talking doll “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” audio recovered through microscope

By on Jul 8, 2011 in Music, Science, Technology, United States Comments

The “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” audio from a 123-year-old first talking doll was reportedly recovered by a group of scientist through the use of a special microscope and can now be heard again.

The record groove surface of the world’s first
audio, as viewed under a microscope.

Image Credit: NPS.gov

According to a press release issued by NPS.gov, scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California recovered the supposed world’s first audio last May, 2011.

As noted on the report, historians believed that the recovered audio from the world’s first talking doll, singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” was also the world’s first commercial audio.

The iconic 12-second audio is now being preserved by the National Park Service at Thomas Edison National Historical Park, which was believed to have recorded by Thomas Edison himself in 1888.

Apparently, the “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” audio, which was captured on a ring-shaped cylinder phonograph made by Thomas Edison is not audible anymore.

Nevertheless, Senior Scientist Carl Haber and Computer Systems Engineer Earl Cornell at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory were noted to have used a 3D optical scanning technology.

Using a microscope, digital modern image analysis methods were used to reproduce the audio stored on the record without touching the record and was later saved as a WAV-format digital audio file.

As noted in history, phonograph inventor Thomas Edison decided to venture in a talking doll business in 1888 and hired a woman to sing a line of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and include the audio to the dolls.

However, the business failed when it was launched in 1890 as Edison used wax for the records instead of tin, which made the dolls to be easily broken and were not sold as being expected.

The recovered “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” audio can now be heard via a mp3 file through National Parks Service’ official website.

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