|Scott's Phonautograph 1860|
But Thomas Edison was not the first scientist to record a human voice. The first voice recording, in fact, was made in 1860 by a Frenchman named Edouard-Leon Scott de la Martinville. This was almost two decades before Edison's recordings.
I think what distinguishes Edison from others was that he was a keen businessman and a promoter as well as a genius inventor. He was also an American, which may have made a difference as well. Americans believe in enterprise and entrepreneurship, as my French friend Claire once said to me. Edison's time was also a time of rapid advancement and mass production of goods. Most of Edison's inventions were very successful ventures.
Here is a version of Edouard-Leon Scott de la Martinville's recording of a girl singing "Au Clair De La Lune." I like this version because of the later digital enhancement of the voice.
|Edison's Graphophone 1899|
Edison was the most successful inventor to not only record but reproduce sound. Later versions of the phonograph were perfected and honed.