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Theo Wangemann was the world's first professional sound recordist, and was hired by Thomas Edison in 1888 to produce a set of musical recordings for the wax cylinder phonograph. Wangemann worked at Edison's West Orange, New Jersey laboratory in 1888-89. Interestingly enough, Wangemann is perhaps best known (until now) for his work recording Johannes Brahms at the piano in 1889. In 2011, the National Park Service digitized a rather curious box of wax cylinder recordings made by Wangemann during his trip through Europe. During this trip he recorded Otto von Bismarck, Helmuth von Moltke, and he even found time to make a home recording in which some of his relatives sent greetings back to family members who had emigrated to America. This website gives visitors the ability to listen to all of these remarkable recordings in their entirety. Visitors should start by reading the two original essays on the site. One of the essays provides a biographical sketch of Wangemann, and the other deals with the appearance of Bismarck and Moltke "before the recording horn." The site is rounded out by a clutch of historic photographs of Wangemann and his wax cylinders.
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