1902 Engraving Reveals Christmas Celebration of an English Family
(Image source: Reproduction / London Museum)
Nowadays we have enough technology to record and reproduce the most varied sounds in an extremely faithful and crystalline quality. But have you ever been curious about listening to old recordings made with equipment that can practically only be found in museums?
The London Museum made available a series of recordings made between 1902 and 1917 by Cromwell Wall, a civil engineer living in London with his family. The material has recently been digitized and is believed to be the oldest recorded Christmas celebration ever to be reported.
Recordings include hymns, folk songs, different individuals playing the piano, conversations, and even the bells of a nearby church announcing the new year. According to the museum, Wall used a graphophone - a kind of phonograph that allowed recording on fragile wax cylinders - and home recordings that withstood the passage of time are rare.
Most of the material that still exists reveals cries from anonymous babies or the applause of audiences from strangers. What makes the Wall family recordings so interesting is the fact that you know so much about them, how they were made, whose voices can be heard, what were the recorded times, and the exact years in which they occurred. . To hear some samples of the recordings, go to this link and click on the images.