Amazing: They digitized the sound that marked the end of World War I

As you may already know, yesterday, November 11th, was celebrated the centenary of Armistice Day - a date that symbolically marks the end of World War I. More specifically, the treaty signed between the Allies and the German Empire in Compiègne, France, entered into force at 11 am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, and thanks to the work of a sound producer we can hear what the exact moment was when the conflict ended.

First World War

(Wikimedia Commons / John Warwick Brooke)

Time travel

But let us tell you how it was possible to bring the sound of guns and battles in silence 100 years back to life. In fact, according to Jason Daley of in 1918, sound recording technology was in the early days of its development, and there weren't even those magnetic tapes that were used to capture sound - you remember from them?

At the time, recordings were made using equipment called “disc phonographs” - or gramophone - that captured the sound and “printed” it through a needle on wax or metal discs. Needless to say, however, it was impractical to carry these machines to battlefields, which is why there are basically no original recordings of the noise and bombing of World War I. On the other hand...

Although we don't have battle discs, that doesn't mean armies have recorded absolutely nothing! According to Jason, the soldiers used a technique of burying oil barrels at a distance from each other (which worked like microphones) and using photographic film to capture the reverberation of sound produced by enemy artillery visually - a system that worked. more or less like a seismograph. Look:

WWI Recorder

(Wikimedia Commons / MKFI)

With this method, the technicians were able to obtain information on where the enemy shots were coming from, to better triangulate their position and to adjust the direction in which the shots should be fired in the offensive. Because some of these movies survived World War I - and the people at Coda to Coda were able to “translate” visual information into sound.

Recreating the past

The expert team worked on a November 11, 1918 movie produced at 10:58 am containing 6 lines - 1 line per microphone - and conducted extensive research to determine which type of weapon and projectile produced each of the data. recorded in the material. The team also considered the size, distance and frequency of the explosions and shots captured, and analyzed the terrain on which the battle took place to define the reverberation produced by the sounds.

The result is this audio file you can check out below - which reveals the moment the armistice comes into force, the chaos of battle begins to die, and the weapons gradually fade into silence. Listen:

If you found it interesting - we here at Mega, who are avowed fans of history, find it fascinating! Imagine the following experience: The sound archive is part of a special exhibit organized by the Imperial War Museum in London in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, where visitors are invited to place their elbows on an amplifier and cover your ears with your hands, so that the sound waves travel up your arms and skull, so that they not only hear but feel the moment the guns shut up. Cool huh?


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