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- My experience of the original Edison phonograph goes back to the period when it was first introduced into this country. In fact, I have good reason to believe that I was among the very first persons in London to make a vocal record, though I never received a copy of it, and if I did it got lost long ago. It must have been in 1881 or 1882, and the place where the deed was done was on the first floor of a shop in Hatton Garden, where I had been invited to listen to the wonderful new invention. To begin with, I heard pieces both in song and speech produced by the friction of a needle against a revolving cylinder, or spool, fixed in what looked like a musical box. It sounded to my ear like someone singing about half a mile away, or talking at the other end of a big hall; but the effect was rather pleasant, save for a peculiar nasal quality wholly due to the mechanism, though there was little of the scratching which later was a prominent feature of the flat disc. Recording for that primitive machine was a comparatively simple matter. I had to keep my mouth about six inches away from the horn and remember not to make my voice too loud if I wanted anything approximating to a clear reproduction; that was all. When it was played over to me and I heard my own voice for the first time, one or two friends who were present said that it sounded rather like mine; others declared that they would never have recognised it. I daresay both opinions were correct.
- The Gramophone magazine, December 1933