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150 Years of Time-Base in Acoustic Measurement and 100 Years of Audio's Best Publicity Stunt - 2007 as a Commemorative Year

Léon Scott's invention of the phonoautograph in 1857 made a long time-base available for recording of vibrations, and it was also the first time an air-borne sound was recorded. Although his invention formed the basis, both for sound recording and reproduction and for acoustical science as we know it, it has been largely forgotten. Neither Scott nor the instrument maker Koenig are mentioned in the series 'Benchmark Papers of Acoustics'. Today we take sound archives for granted, but the whole sound archive movement would not have received any attention in the general public, if one particular event had not occurred: the sealed deposit in 1907 of important shellac records and a gramophone in the vaults below the Paris Opera house. They were intended to remain untouched for 100 years, and they have survived to this day. The paper will provide the documentation for these historical events that form the basis of so many of our professional activities.

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