Boing Boing

Monday, February 6, 2006

Electronic Musical instruments from 1870 to 1990
On
obsolete.com, a comprehensive history of 120 years in electronic music machines. Shown here: Elisha Gray's Musical Telegraph of 1876.
Gray accidentally dicovered that he could control sound from a self vibrating electromagnetic circuit and in doing so invented a basic single note oscillator. The 'Musical Telegraph' used steel reeds whose oscillations were created and transmitted , over a telephone line, by electromagnets. Gray also built a simple loudspeaker device in later models consisting of a vibrating diaphragm in a magnetic field to make the oscillator audible. (...)

Elisha Gray's first "musical telegraph" or "harmonic telegraph" contained enough single-tone oscillators to play two octaves and later models were equipped with a simple tone wheel control. Gray took the instrument on tour with him in 1874. Alexander Graham Bell also designed an experimental ' Electric Harp' for speach transmission over a telephone line using similar technology to Gray's.

Link (Thanks, Violet Blue)


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