JF Ptak Science Books Post 1098 [Part of a series on the History of Blank, Missing and Empty Things.]
This first image struck me as a sort of prototype for the shared-music experience that is common to youtube and a plethera of other online sites, showing a humble beginning of sharing for a revolutionary idea and experience. The idea of recording and playing back sound1, the idea of being able to save sound and listen to it later, was an astonishing realization and invention. (There will be more on this in a post later today.) And it struck me that being able to enjoy music without the necessity of having the musicians there to play it, live, uniquely, is a phenomenon that is recent in the history of listening to things, being less than 134 years old.
This is one of the earliest images of that shared experience: the Edison phonograph, being played in company, ca. 1878.
1. The earliest "phonograph" was one which successfully recorded sound but could not play the sound back. Or at least until recently, when these 150-year-old recordings were played back for the first time. This was the work of Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville, (1817-1879), a French bookseller (!) who patented his phomautograph in 1857.
These recordings can be heard HERE.