An 1860 phonautogram of Au Clair de la Lune, a French folk song, was played back as sound for the first time in 2008 by scanning it and using software to convert the undulating line, which graphically encoded the sound, into a corresponding digital audio file.On April 30, 1877, French poet, humorous writer and inventor Charles Cros submitted a sealed envelope containing a letter to the Academy of Sciences in Paris fully explaining his proposed method, called the paleophone.
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The earliest known recordings of the human voice are phonautograph recordings, called "phonautograms", made in 1857.
They consist of sheets of paper with sound-wave-modulated white lines created by a vibrating stylus that cut through a coating of soot as the paper was passed under it.
The invention soon spread across the globe and over the next two decades the commercial recording, distribution, and sale of sound recordings became a growing new international industry, with the most popular titles selling millions of units by the early 1900s.
The development of mass-production techniques enabled cylinder recordings to become a major new consumer item in industrial countries and the cylinder was the main consumer format from the late 1880s until around 1910.
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