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The first electronic instrument

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,435
I came across this documentary on the Telharmonium built in 1906 from a book called "The Rest Is Noise" by Alex Ross.

Interesting, the thing weighed 200 tons!

In three parts:





 

ThePeopleofColin

Runs with Scissors
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1,648
It's a shame that none of them are left. It would be cool to see one functioning. But would probably cost more than the yearly GNP of 50% of the world's nations to build one nowadays!

I'll have to check out those videos. The history of electronic instruments has always intrigued me.
 

Chrome Dinette

Senior Member
Messages
14,369
The Teleharmonium foreshadowed Muzak and Cable TV Music only channels, in that it was meant to be listened to by subscribers over telephone wires.
 
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'58Bassman

Member
Messages
4,928
The Teleharmonium foreshadowed Muzak and Cable TV Music only channels, in that it was meant to be listened by subscribers over telephone wires.
Wow! "Music on hold" in 1906. That's thinking outside of the box. At that time, I'd bet most people thought it was witchcraft. At that time, if most people wanted new music, they went out and bought sheet music so they, or someone else, could play it themselves.
 

lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
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17,435
Wow! "Music on hold" in 1906. That's thinking outside of the box. At that time, I'd bet most people thought it was witchcraft. At that time, if most people wanted new music, they went out and bought sheet music so they, or someone else, could play it themselves.
Indeed, they tried all kinds of tricks to make it popular including a sort of 5.1 surround by hiding spkrs all around the room, making it available in your hotel room and literally piping it under the streets.

One of the things I find fascinating is that it had it's own concert hall in NYC and now few even know about it.

As PeopleOfColin pointed out, it would be fun to hear one. As for cost, I think it cost the Wright Brothers less than $1,000 to build the first airplane in about a year's time and it cost over $100,000 and ca 5 yrs to build a reproduction. :omg

The tone-wheel concept did live on in the Hammond organ. Cool.
 

Chrome Dinette

Senior Member
Messages
14,369
Indeed, they tried all kinds of tricks to make it popular including a sort of 5.1 surround by hiding spkrs all around the room, making it available in your hotel room and literally piping it under the streets.
I believe the first instance of anyone listening to anything in stereo was during a phone broadcast of some sort of musical event. A technician was listening to the feeds from 2 phone mics on separate earpieces.
 

Bussman

Member
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2,761
Elisha Gray's musical telegraph from 1876 came before the Telharmonium.


Perhaps not as impressive but much more portable. Gray's oscillators were built from steel reeds excited by electromagnets.
 
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lhallam

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
17,435
Elisha Gray's musical telegraph from 1876 came before the Telharmononium.


Perhaps not as impressive but much more portable. Gray's oscillators were built from steel reeds excited by electromagnets.

Thanks, I stand corrected.
 

Bussman

Member
Messages
2,761
There might have been others. I wish I could spell Telharmonium properly every time. :)
 






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