For more than a century, since he captured the spoken words “Mary had a little lamb” on a sheet of tinfoil, Thomas Edison has been considered the father of recorded sound. But researchers say they have unearthed a recording of the human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman, that predates Edison’s invention of the phonograph by nearly two decades.
This is the first known recording ever created, by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, on April 9, 1860, before Edison’s wax cylinder experiments. The 10 seconds ghostly voice is a woman singing “Au Clair de la Lune”.
It was recorded by a device called Phonautograph. The phonautograph is the earliest known device for recording sound. Previously, tracings had been obtained of the sound-producing vibratory motions of tuning forks and other objects by physical contact with them, but not of actual sound waves as they propagated through air or other media. Invented by Frenchman Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville, it was patented on March 25, 1857. Source