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Leon Scott and the Phonautograph
Scott phonautograph from Smithsonian
Scott, with the help of Rudolph Koenig who made musical instruments at 27 Quai d'Anjou in Paris, constructed some machines for scientific purposes, but he was not able to profit from his invention and spent the remainder of his life as a librarian and bookseller at 9 rue Vivienne in Paris. He died April 26, 1879, two years after Edison's invention. Despite his claims that he was the true inventor of the phonograph, Scott was never able to do what Edison did, to make indentations on a cylinder that could vibrate a diaphragm as did the original sound waves. In 1877, another French inventor, Charles M. Cros, described a device called the paleophone that was similar to Scott's phonautograph. Although Scott's phonautograph only made images of sound, it was a valuable tool used by later scientists such as Helmholtz, Bell, and Edison.
- Helmholtz, Hermann. On the Sensations of Tone as a Physiological Basis for the Theory of Music. Translated by Alexander J. Ellis. London: Longmans, Green, 1875, p. 20.
- History of the Phonautograph
- Marco, Guy A., editor. Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound in the United States. New York: Garland, 1993, p. 615.
- Winston, Brian. Media Technology and Society: a History from the Telegraph to the Internet. New York : Routledge, 1998.
- 1999-2004 by Steven E. Schoenherr. All rights reserved.