edison.wps - 1 Devon Gant Edison and His Era Due: April 24,...

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1 Devon Gant Edison and His Era Due: April 24, 2007 The Outlandish Public Opinion of the Phonograph Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph revolutionized the way people looked at the world around them. When it was introduced and exhibited to the public, the response was overwhelming. For the first time, Edison had created an invention that could be used by consumers, rather than those who produced consumer goods. Through the vigorous press coverage of the phonograph’s uses, the public fascination with its future, both positive and negative, grew with each passing publication. The question about public perception must be posed however; Was the reaction to Edison’s phonograph based on the true uses intended for it by its inventor, or were people misinformed and therefore created their own uses for it and built up the phonograph’s positive and negative traits in their minds? The positive attributes of Edison’s phonograph were heralded far and wide after its introduction to the public. Articles in every important periodical of the time announced Edison’s phonograph as a huge achievement for science, technology, communication, and entertainment. Through these periodicals, people were able to build up their ideas about uses and functions of the phonograph. Edison himself wrote in the North American Review about the public’s ideas for possible uses of the phonograph and how he was willing to 1
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2 allow the public to decide what uses were most needed and suited for them. 1 . He also found it necessary to mention that the press had put out so many articles about varying uses and “prophetic opinions” about the future of his invention that the public would most likely become confused between reality and what the machine was actually capable of. 2
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This note was uploaded on 04/21/2008 for the course HIST 512:236 taught by Professor ? during the Spring '08 term at Rutgers.

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edison.wps - 1 Devon Gant Edison and His Era Due: April 24,...

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