February 19, 1878

Thomas Edison received a patent for the phonograph. It was his favorite invention; he lost most of his hearing as a child.

In Edison’s original version, a piece of tinfoil was wrapped around the phonograph’s cylinder in the middle. When someone shouted a message into the piece on one side of the cylinder while turning the handle, a needle inside the piece would vibrate. The vibrations would go through the needle and make groove into the tinfoil. A needle on the other side could play back what was recorded.