In 1867, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented the phonautograph, which transcribed sound as visible waves on paper or glass. He never intended for these recordings to be played back aloud-rather, he thought the sound depictions would be useful to study. But in 2008, his early phonautograms were traced by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's virtual stylus technology, allowing audiences to listen to the first sound recordings ever made.
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