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P.T. Barnum, 1890 London


RodPickett
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RodPickett

This is a transfer of the original Edison 2 Minute brown wax recording by P.T. Barnum, while in London in 1890.  This transfer was done sometime in the 1930's by Edison Bell Laboratories onto a 78 rpm record.  The whereabouts of the original is still unknown.  Transfer courtesy Archeophone Records.  Also attached you will find a transcript, with the words in brackets [ ] assumed.

PT Barnum (track 1 restored).mp3 PT Barnum Transcript.pdf

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  • 8 months later...
transformingArt

Thanks for posting this - if I am correct, there was a second cylinder that was transferred by Edison Bell - can you also share the second cylinder? I believe there are two tracks on the Edison Bell disc.

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RodPickett
6 hours ago, transformingArt said:

Thanks for posting this - if I am correct, there was a second cylinder that was transferred by Edison Bell - can you also share the second cylinder? I believe there are two tracks on the Edison Bell disc.

 

Good point.  The physical record, as well as the digital transfer files, are currently at a different location and I do not have quick access.  I will post when I get access to those files.

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RodPickett

Thank you Shawn,

 

I was aware that Vulcan had a transfer, but I believe when I contacted them last they were uncertain of the source, but surely from an Edison Bell transfer.

 

I have been researching these “famous voices” recordings for years, attempting to verify the location of the originals, if they still existed at all.

 

I have documented evidence by Mrs. Courtney-Gale, Col. Gouraud's daughter, regarding the disposition of the Barnum cylinder, and possibly others.  They have just not been located yet.

 

I have confirmed that the BBC Archives contain the following recordings:

  • Thomas Edison (16th June 1888)
  • Henry Irving (30th August 1888)
  • William Ewart Gladstone (November 22nd 1888)
  • Speaker of the House of Commons (6th December 1888)
  • Duke of Cambridge (22nd December 1888)
  • Message to Prince of Wales from Captain Rose (16th January 1889)
  • HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Princess of Wales and Lord Salisbury (18th January 1889)
  • Robert Browning (7th April 1889)
  • Additionally, there are cylinders recorded by;
  • Isaac Pitman (20th October 1891)
  • Cardinal Manning (to the Duke of Norfolk) (29th October 1891)

 

I have also confirmed the current location of the Florence Nightingale recordings.

 

I will document more of this under a separate post.

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transformingArt
On 1/22/2021 at 10:10 PM, RodPickett said:

 

Good point.  The physical record, as well as the digital transfer files, are currently at a different location and I do not have quick access.  I will post when I get access to those files.

 

Thanks for letting me know. I look forward to hear the second transfer on the Edison Bell. I tried to bid on a copy of it (pictured) on eBay few years ago but lost my bid. I believe what you have posted is a very-seldomly heard take, rather than the more famous one that was reissued many times over the years. 

20210126_234039.jpg

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transformingArt
On 1/23/2021 at 9:11 PM, RodPickett said:

I have confirmed that the BBC Archives contain the following recordings:

  • Thomas Edison (16th June 1888)
  • Henry Irving (30th August 1888)
  • William Ewart Gladstone (November 22nd 1888)
  • Speaker of the House of Commons (6th December 1888)
  • Duke of Cambridge (22nd December 1888)
  • Message to Prince of Wales from Captain Rose (16th January 1889)
  • HRH Prince of Wales and HRH Princess of Wales and Lord Salisbury (18th January 1889)
  • Robert Browning (7th April 1889)
  • Additionally, there are cylinders recorded by;
  • Isaac Pitman (20th October 1891)
  • Cardinal Manning (to the Duke of Norfolk) (29th October 1891)

 

I have also confirmed the current location of the Florence Nightingale recordings.

 

I will document more of this under a separate post.

 

 

I look forward to reading your post about these cylinders. I have a Decca pressing of the Edison Bell transfer of the "Gladstone" recording, although its authenticity is quite doubtful, as the actual documented one (which is now in the collection of Thomas Edison National Historic Site) sounds very different to the one transferred by Edison-Bell.  The BBC archive also had yet another "Gladstone" recording, which was a recreation by Len Spencer and passed it as originals for many years.

 

The BBC did their own transfers from these cylinders sometime in the 1950s - which were originally pressed on vinylite 78rpm discs. I have received digital transfers of the Nightingale, Browning, Irving, and Prince Napoleon on one of these discs. 

 

I will try to locate and share a newsreel footage (pictured here is a frame grab) from 1935 in which a representative from Edison Bell demonstrate their method of transferring these cylinders to discs - basically, they have played them on an Edison Class M machine which had a rubber tube connected to a microphone, of which was connected to the disc cutter. 

 

 

 

VideoCapture_20210128-170603.jpg

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RodPickett

WOW!  This is simply fascinating.  Thank you for posting as I have not seen this before.  Ironically, I have some documentation that suggests these cylinders were sold in 1935, assuredly after these transfer processes were completed.  They do not appear in the list BBC provided that I noted above.  Could there have been duplicates?  One wonders. 

 

Regarding the photo of the Barnum disc you provided, it is highly-likely that it is the one I have and we were competing bidders.  I’ll send you photos and transfers when I am able.

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  • 1 month later...
transformingArt

It has been a while since I asked about the other transfer of the Barnum recording - and I still hope you will have a time to share it with all of us in the future.

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  • 4 weeks later...
transformingArt

Thank you for sharing the photos for the disc - I appreciate that. It seems that I was indeed bidding on this one on eBay many years ago.

 

Also, thank you for the sound files, though I hope you can also share the direct transfers of these sometime in the future; it sounds like it was recorded off from the computer speaker. It is interesting that it sounds that the tracks are identical recordings recorded twice, not two different recordings I have initially thought. The question remains that where does the other version ("alternate take" if I say) comes from.

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RodPickett
Posted (edited)

You are correct, in that I had difficulty with these transfers that I had, all cda extensions.  I have uploaded them here, with the following index I was provided:

 

1 - Barnum A raw (downsampled)

2 - Barnum B raw (downsampled)

3 - Barnum A partially restored

4 - Barnum B partially restored

5. - Barnum A further restored

6 - Barnum A final restoration

 

Track02.mp3 Track03.mp3 Track04.mp3 Track05.mp3 Track06.mp3 Track01.mp3

Edited by RodPickett
Replaced defective opto drive, converted cda to mp3 with EZ CD Audio Converter
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transformingArt
On 4/1/2021 at 8:35 AM, RodPickett said:

You are correct, in that I had difficulty with these transfers that I had, all cda extensions.  I have uploaded them here, with the following index I was provided:

 

1 - Barnum A raw (downsampled)

2 - Barnum B raw (downsampled)

3 - Barnum A partially restored

4 - Barnum B partially restored

5. - Barnum A further restored

6 - Barnum A final restoration

Track01.cda 44 B · 1 download Track02.cda 44 B · 0 downloads Track03.cda 44 B · 0 downloads Track04.cda 44 B · 0 downloads Track05.cda 44 B · 0 downloads Track06.cda 44 B · 4 downloads

 

 

Again, I would be very glad if you can share all of these tracks properly in due course - this is an important historical artifact and I really would love to hear them all. If there is anything I can help, please let me know. Many thanks in advance!

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