Item No: #362503 Vowel Theories. Alexander Graham Bell.
Vowel Theories
Vowel Theories

Scarce Alexander Graham Bell Paper on Sound

Vowel Theories

Notes: A significant scientific paper in which Bell, who had already patented the telephone, reports on experiments with Charles Morey's phonoautograph and Thomas Edison's phonograph. Bell was exploring the connection between music and vowels in speech and how recording devices could contribute to a better understanding of human sound production. The phonoautograph produced visible representations of sound, but did not include a mechanism to reproduce the sound. The phonograph could play back sounds, but did not provide a graphical representation.

This paper was collected in Bell's 1907 book, The Mechanism of Speech; this offprint version is very scarce. In the introduction to this paper in that book, Bell wrote, "A paper by the author upon 'Vowel Theories' is also appended, as the original publication is difficult to find, and the paper itself is out of print. This paper was read before the National Academy of Sciences, April 15, 1879, and appeared in the American Journal of Otology, Vol. I, July, 1879. The experiments described were made with the phonograph in the form in which it was given to the world by Edison a grooved cylinder covered with tinfoil; but still more conclusive results are obtained with the improved phonographs and graphophones of to-day."

20 pages.

Edition + Condition: First edition (first printing). A near fine copy (old vertical fold) in the original salmon-colored wrappers.

Publication: New York: William Wood, 1879.

Item No: #362503