Digital audio can get deleted in a flash, CD’s can get scratched in a split second, tapes deteriorate, but wax cylinders from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s still play, and you can download the audio from this site. Seems like technology has gone downhill when you consider the difference in how these things last.
Like wax cylinders, this site is super-old school and simple but still gets the job done.
In the first section “Early Recorded Sounds & Wax Cylinders” you will find an overview of the site. There are several sections to explore:
First Phonograph — Here you will see two pictures of the phonograph, one is a replica of the original and the other is a recording on tin foil. Click the images to make them larger. Here you will also get a brief history of the phonograph. You can click next to continue on to the next section or go back to the index.
Wax Cylinder Recordings — Here you will find more pictures of phonographs as well as the wax cylinders themselves. You will also learn more about the phonograph and then you can move forward again.
Early Recording Sessions — This section really fascinated me. You learn about how they actually recorded music on the cylinders in vivid detail. This is a fascinating read—I think you will all find it really very interesting. You’ll learn how music progressed through this section. If you click the bubbles that say “Real” on them you can hear music from these recordings.
The Gallery of Two-Minute Wax Cylinders — Here you can view many different types of wax cylinders. Lots of nifty pictures here for you to view, it’s like stepping back in time.
The rest of the history you can explore yourself at your own leisure. I’d like to go back to the main page now and talk about the “Cylinder of the Month”. Here you can hear a different wax cylinder each month. December’s is “Washington Post March” and comes from 1904.
You can also check out some of the previous month’s recordings.