January 29, 1999 PART 1 -- Independent producers The Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva) continue our year-long series (which airs every Friday in 1999 on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED) with part one of a profile of the work of Thomas Alva Edison in the realm of recorded sound. We learn that the inventor of the phonograph intended his instrument to be used to capture speeches and office dictation. Only later did he record music for the public. Skeptics were in disbelief of the phonograph when it first appeared, that they suspected Edison of hiring ventriloquists to copy voices. Edison, the "Wizard of Menlo Park" (named after the site of his first New Jersey laboratory), was a huge public figure of his day. He held over a thousand patents, but considered the phonograph his most important invention. Part Two, next Friday, continues the story with how Edison faced competition in the record industry.
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