Thomas Edison Demonstrates Telephone and Phonograph to National Academy of Sciences

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Date: April 1878

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Summary

Thomas Alva Edison demonstrates his phonograph and his use of carbon transmitters for the telephone at a meeting of the National Academy of Sciences held at the Smithsonian Building on April 16-19, 1878. Edison's phonograph, which he had originally developed as a potential means of recording telephone conversations, had attracted widespread notice since being publicly announced in January. Invited by Smithsonian Secretary and National Academy president Joseph Henry to demonstrate his two inventions to the academy, Edison took advantage of his journey to Washington to exhibit the phonograph to members of Congress and to President Rutherford B. Hayes.

Subject

  • Edison, Thomas A (Thomas Alva) 1847-1931
  • Henry, Joseph 1797-1878
  • National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
  • Smithsonian Institution Building (Washington, D.C.)

Category

Chronology of Smithsonian History

Notes

  • Photograph of Thomas Alva Edison's foil phonograph of 1878. Smithsonian Institution Archives, negative number 91-3690.
  • Rothenberg, Marc, et al, eds. The Papers of Joseph Henry, Volume 11, January 1866-December 1878: The Smithsonian Years. Washington, D.C.: Science History Publications, 2007, p. 652.

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu

Date

April 1878

Topic

  • Telephone
  • Inventors
  • Inventions
  • Phonograph

Place

Washington (D.C.)

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