The original way to record and playback sounds were “records” – as they were called back then – wax cylinders. These tubes of wax could be etched with a sound recording and then be played back repeatedly. Their use was from the late 1880’s until they were stopped from production in 1929. The introduction of the phonograph record in the 1910’s did away with wax cylinders.
The Department of Special Collections at The University of California - Santa Barbara has established a digital archive of cylinder recordings – The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project. These audio recordings, which number more than 36,000 digital files, can be downloaded or streamed online.
On Tuesday nights, WFMU broadcasts the Antique Phonograph Music Program and you can hear a special mix of Antique Phonograph recordings from The Wire magazine.