Thomas Alva Edison, Part I

Lost and Found Sound: His Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise

Listen: Listen to the Edison Story: Part I

Listen: Listen to the Edison Story Part II

A Charred photo of Edison found after his factory burned down.

hide captionA Charred photo of Edison found after his factory burned down.

Courtesy of the Edison National Historic Site
Singer Frieda Hempel staging a tone test at the Edison Studios, 79 Fifth Ave., New York City, 1918.

hide captionSinger Frieda Hempel staging a tone test at the Edison Studios, 79 Fifth Ave., New York City, 1918.

Courtesy of the Edison National Historic Site

The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of Thomas Alva Edison is a two-part story that explores the recorded legacy of the near-deaf inventor of the talking machine.

Part I - Born before the Civil War, Edison died just two years after the stock market crash of 1929. The inventor of the repeating telegraph, the incandescent light bulb, the kinetoscope, x-rays, and the electric pens—-Edison came to be known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park". When he died at 84, he held 1,093patents. "But of all of my inventions," Edison said, "I liked the phonograph best.

The sounds in the story range from the first ever recorded words to diamond discs cut in 1927. Some of these archival artifacts are worn by time and play. But listen and you will hear some of the oldest sound recordings that exist anywhere.

The Rise and Fall and Rise and Fall and Rise of Thomas Alva Edison is the first piece in the Lost and Found Sound series. It was produced by The Kitchen Sisters™, Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva in collaboration with David Giovannoni and Jim Anderson. Mixed by Robin Wise.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: