Thomas Alva EDISON: American inventor and
industrial entrepreneur
EDISON Profile (1847-1931)
During the industrial revolution in the second half of the 19th century, Thomas Alva Edison was a reputed inventor and symbolic figure of the American dream. He is an emblematic figure of this technically driven and pragmatic society.

He is accredited with hundreds of inventions including the microphone, the incandescent lamp, and the kinetoscope. With his partner John Kruesi, he made the first phonograph in December 1877 in his laboratory in Menlo Park. The principal for this invention had officially been set by the Frenchman Charles Cros in April 1877. The first version, mediocre in quality, was perfected with time.

The phonograph turned humanity’s dream into reality: to reproduce speech and sounds mechanically. As his life was coming to an end in 1931, Edison enjoyed the acclaim that a lot of inventors go their entire lives without experiencing. Many of his inventions completely changed the lives of millions of people.

Outline and description of the first phonograph.
Completed on the 6th December 1877, the first device named the ‘phonograph' by Thomas Alva Edison is a rudimentary object. It is made up of a revolving cylinder wrapped in tin foil and a horn connected to a diaphragm (membrane), which is fastened to a steel stylus (needle). The cylinder, the first phonographic resource invented, turned thanks to a crank on a horizontal axis and was subject to a double rotational action and shift.
The phonograph allows a person to play-back the vibrations indented onto the cylinder, as well as to carry out specific recordings. Recording was possible thanks to its steel stylus (needle), which indented the vibrations onto the cylinder. As soon as recording is completed, the recording can be read by the needle, which converts the indented vibrations.
The device was perfected with time: the stylus was replaced with a needle and the durability and format developed too.