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Bismarck recordings found in Edison's lab

The Local · 31 Jan 2012, 11:27

Published: 31 Jan 2012 11:27 GMT+01:00

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The New York Times reported on Tuesday that the content of the wax cylinder records, which had been stored in a cabinet for decades, was only uncovered after the curator of the Edison museum in New Jersey played them on special phonograph.

Made by Edison’s assistant Theodor Wangemann in 1889 and 1890, the recordings include the only known sample of Bismarck’s voice, as well as recitations by German military strategist Helmuth von Moltke and several musical pieces.

“This is sensational,” said Ulrich Lappenküper, director of the Otto von Bismarck Foundation in Friedrichsruh, Germany told the paper.

Known as the Iron Chancellor, Bismarck united Germany in 1871. At the time of the recording he was 74, and still the political leader of the German Empire.

The New York Times reported he recited poetry in English, Latin, French and German to Wangemann at his residence in Friedrichruh. The researchers were also surprised to hear he had also spoken parts of the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, considering the statesman had played a key role in Prussia’s defeat of France just prior to German unification.

Story continues below…

“Bismarck was a very, very witty man,” Jonathan Steinberg, a historian and Bismarck biographer at the University of Pennsylvania, told the newspaper.

The Local/mry

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Your comments about this article

12:12 January 31, 2012 by wood artist
It seems that almost every week we hear of some previously unknown item being "discovered" in a museum or archive. Ultimately it make you wonder just what other history is hiding in plain sight, just never examined or cataloged. What fun it would be to look through the entire contents of some of these places.

13:45 January 31, 2012 by zeddriver
I never was a fan of history when I was young. But as time goes on I do find it very interesting. I'm amazed at how many historical events are actually interlocked with other seemingly unrelated events. But that does create an issue with how to solve a lot current issues. As so many events over so many years got us here. We humans always over simplify things and generally state that if we change one thing then everything will fall into place. Or that this one thing was caused by this one event. If only it were that simple.

I do hope that the owners of the wax cylinder provides free copies of this recording to German historians. It would be the right thing to do.
13:48 January 31, 2012 by William Thirteen
they can share it on MegaUpload....or maybe not!
14:25 January 31, 2012 by zeddriver
@William Thirteen

Good one. Well done. :)
15:40 January 31, 2012 by Englishted
Will these be released as a mp3 ,he is then the original

DJ Otto.
17:52 January 31, 2012 by raandy
William Thirteen LOL
18:13 January 31, 2012 by mos101392
This should be another example of American ingenuity. Too many times has a German said to me that an American wasn't the first. Now, this is another example that is hard to disprove. Although, Wernher von Braun was the father of the Apollo project, which eventually landed the first man on the moon, however, it was the work of Robert Hutchings Goddard that really was the genesis of liquid fueled propulsion. In addition, there are those that said an American isn't the first in inventing the light bulb or television or radio or computer...however, none of these inventions seem to have an impact without American intervention or ingenuity on the world as a whole. I'm not here to boast, but every country has had their impact on the present world...just don't be afraid to acknowledge each and every one's accomplishments. Maybe for the average European, in their mindset, the USA is young country and can't possibly be as cultural, philisophical, or intelligent as our European counterparts. I say to them, imagine our world, good or bad, with a USA that never existed! And yes, there will be those of you who will point out only the bad the USA has done, but I'm proud to know we have had a "MAJOR" impact on the world we know today! And if you don't agree, then why is any major country of "significance value" advocate English as a second language?
21:18 January 31, 2012 by Samoht

21:47 January 31, 2012 by Tanskalainen
Unfortunately the recorder was on when Otto sat on his helmut.

@mos101392 Get a life for Chrissakes, chill out.
22:32 January 31, 2012 by zeddriver

Pride in ones country is fine. But. When it comes to inventions of one sort or another. I just look to the fact that a person happened to invent this thing. Oh! and by the way. They are from this or that country. Karl Benz was the first to place a patent on the 'modern auto'. Of course in 1796 Nicolas Joseph Cugnot made a steam powered tractor that he drove around. and a year or two later. A steam powered tricycle that carried passengers. He happens to be French. So Herr Benz was inspired to improve something that somebody else made first.

The thing is. We tend to get distracted by lines on a map. And get so worked up by what side of the border the inventor was from. I remember in the 60's or 70's that Russian researchers had discovered a new vitamin. I think it was called vitamin Q. The US government refused to acknowledge the discovery not based on fact. But on political ideology. How crappy is that. A vitamin that might possibly help folk lead a healthier life is rejected because it was discovered by a communist.

So. I care not one wit about what country the inventor of the first car, computer, TV, Radio was from. All I know is that I enjoy using said inventions.
09:57 February 1, 2012 by Celeon
Whats most stunning about this story is that the wooden box containing the recordings was already discovered in 1957.

It spent 55 further years catching dust before anyone spent attention on it.
10:49 February 1, 2012 by vjtheking
@mos101392: English comes from ENGLAND and not Bl00dy America... if there's any 1 single thing that America can claim as having invented 100% its JUNK FOOD!
12:29 February 1, 2012 by Illogicbuster

What ARE you babbling on about now? The VAST majority of patents in the last 200 years have come out of the U.S.A. What don't you understand about that FACT?
16:16 February 1, 2012 by Tanskalainen
In today's reality of global markets and international corporations engineers struggle to get patents out before the competition regardless of nationality.
23:12 February 1, 2012 by MaKo
Keep on crying, vj King. Come summer, the world will pay attention to you again, if that Kate and William thing didn't do it for you.
01:21 February 4, 2012 by ErnestPayne
Fascinating. Did he say "guns or butter"? An economic lesson lost on the US for decades. "Speaking" of lost things. Any chance of finding Queen Victoria?
17:57 February 5, 2012 by Englishted

I think you mean patients not patents :-)
01:21 February 6, 2012 by genedoc60
Well for what its worth, I think its an interesting look into history regardless of the national chest swelling going on here. Id love to get into the museums of the world for a bit of a looksee myself. What treasures would I find i wonder.
12:28 February 17, 2012 by ColoSlim
while you are all slobbering over how much you know why don't you pipe down and listen for yourselves.

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