123 years ago, Thomas Edison produced the very first commercially-available recording – a woman reciting “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

And today, thanks to the work of a few scientists at Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory, we can hear the recording again. Using a confocal microscope, the researchers were able to map the topology of a badly damaged cylinder on which the recording was made. They then converted the grooves into sound, and – voila! – a century-old woman’s voice came back to life. The recording was sold with a doll, which could be cranked to recite the nursery rhyme.

You can listen to the rather haunting recording here.


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