I found it quite interesting, though predictable, that a phonograph party would provide such entertainment and bewilderment as it did in 1900. As seen in the story with Mr. Openeer, the widespread attraction to the phonograph was instantaneous. I described the phonograph party as predictable because it is clear through the peoples’ reactions that the phonograph was the most advanced technology at the time. The music playback was described as “loud and clear” (136), however after watching a phonograph video in class we could all tell that the playback volume was mediocre at best and fairly scratchy. To host a phonograph party today would be quite different. Rather than admiring incredible technology, we would wonder how the most advanced technology was as primitive as a phonograph in 1900 when compared to our devices today.
The idea of preserving voices in a wax cylinder was very popular when the phonograph first came out. From recording passed family members’ voices to recording famous speeches of politicians, the preservation of voices was certainly an appeal. As in the story, one could play a recording of a passed family member and listen to their laughs and voices, and it would seem as if that person was in the room next to them. In this sense, Thomas Edison’s prediction was correct in so that the preservation of voices is a better way of remembering the past than the use of photographs. Today, we don’t necessarily listen to recordings of people talking unless it is of a podcast, speech, or audio book.