what we can do with a speaking machine

In 1877 Edison invented the phonograph--a machine that talked.

Some people called him a "wizard" for having made such a magical invention. Even now, you may hear Edison referred to as the "Wizard of Menlo Park."

People had some rather humorous notions about how the phonograph could be used. In its March 21,1878 issue, the New York Daily Graphic suggested that a speaking Statue of Liberty might be one of the "Awful Possibilities for the New Speaking Phonograph."

To encourage people to think about the importance of his creation, Edison gave his own ideas for the most important uses of the phonograph:

  • Writing and dictating letters
  • Recording music
  • Recording the human voice to:
    • make books for blind people
    • teach people to improve their speech
    • save voices of family members for future generations
    • make clocks that told time or called you home
  • Making toys for children. In 1894, Edison started making dolls with tiny phonographs inside.

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The Henry Ford is an AAM (American Association of Museums) accredited museum. The museum complex is an independent, non-profit, educational institution not affiliated with the Ford Motor Company or the Ford Foundation.