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Hear the Lost Voice of Alexander Graham Bell

This undated handout photo provided by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History shows a detail view of a phonorecord by Alexander Graham Bell.

WASHINGTON — When Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, died in 1922, the sound of his voice was lost to all but who knew him. Until now.

Historians have identified a recording Bell made 128 years ago and released it to the public for the first time. The sound of the Scottish-born inventor who lived in England, Canada and the eastern United States can be heard on a crackling recording laid down on a wax-and-binder-board disc way back on April 15, 1885.

Teams from the National Museum of American History, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Library of Congress analyzed and digitized the disc, comparing the recording to a 19th century transcript Bell signed and dated: “...in witness whereof, hear my voice, Alexander Graham Bell.”

The man, who has with his inventions given voice to so many others, finally has a voice of his own, helping historians eavesdrop on a period in history that gave birth to a new era in sound.

Listen to Bell's full recording here, courtesy of the Smithsonian:

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