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Earliest known sound recordings revealed

Researchers unveil imprints made 20 years before Edison invented phonograph

WASHINGTON — Inscribed on soot-blackened paper, the muffled sounds from more than 150 years ago play back like the “wa wa” of an unseen teacher in the Peanuts cartoons. It would be impossible to know that someone was playing the coronet and guitar, although other fragments, from a dramatic speech from Shakespeare’s Othello, might be discerned if you knew the lines by heart in French.

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