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Thomas Edison's Talking Dolls Will Haunt Your Dreams (LISTEN)

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Author Topic: Thomas Edison's Talking Dolls Will Haunt Your Dreams (LISTEN)  (Read 2226 times)
Kristen Kroll
Superhero Member
Posts: 2181

« on: May 17, 2015, 05:56:31 pm »

Designed in the late 1890s, the 4-pound, 22-inch talking tall doll is somewhat creepy on its own. However, its outward appearance pale in comparison to the sounds it is capable of making -- sounds that were recorded on a phonograph cylinder more than 100 years ago that sits inside its tiny metal torso.

Because the tin cylinders are fragile, most have failed the test of time and only two digital recordings of the dolls were known to exist. However, all that recently changed when the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in collaboration with the Library of Congress, developed a three-dimensional optical scanning system called IRENE-3D.

Using IRENE-3D, the developers were able to create a digital model of the surface of the phonograph records, which allowed them to precisely reproduce the audio that was stored on them.

phonograph doll 2

As a result, the doll's voices, long since lost to time, have been restored, revealing the existence of eight individual recordings taken from dolls in five different collections.

The recordings include individuals reciting "Jack and Jill," "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," "Little Jack Horner" and, perhaps the creepiest of all -- "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep," which sounds like it is being bellowed by a young woman under extreme duress.

According to CNET, only a small number of the dolls remain in the world today and most of them belong to private collectors.
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