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Restored Edison recordings contains Otto von Bismarck’s voice Restored Edison recordings contains Otto von Bismarck’s voice Restored Edison recordings contains Otto von Bismarck’s voice

A collection of wax cylindrical phonographic records from Thomas Edison’s laboratory have been restored.

The cylinders, from 1889 and 1890, include the only known recording of the voice of the powerful chancellor Otto von Bismarck. Two preserve the voice of Helmuth von Moltke, a venerable German military strategist, reciting lines from Shakespeare and from Goethe’s “Faust” into a phonograph horn. (Moltke was 89 when he made the recordings — the only ones known to survive from someone born as early as 1800.) Other records found in the collection hold musical treasures — lieder and rhapsodies performed by German and Hungarian singers and pianists at the apex of the Romantic era, including what is thought to be the first recording of a work by Chopin.

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Story: Ron Cowen, NTY | Photo: National Park Service

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