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Phonograph dolls at museum

Become a child again and enjoy listening to talking dolls through the ages at the New London Public Museum as the next Curiosity Series presentation brings Joan and Robin Rolfs back to the museum for more about Thomas Edison.

“Phonograph Dolls that Talk and Sing” will be presented at 10 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 12. It all began on July 18, 1877 when Thomas A. Edison spoke a nursery rhyme, “Mary had a little lamb” into the mouth piece of a great new invention he called the phonograph. Strangely, the perfection of the phonograph had its beginnings in the development of a talking doll for children. The Edison doll has claim to three Edison firsts:

? The doll contained the first automatic record playing mechanism.

? The first phonograph records sold to the public under the name “Edison” were made for the Talking Doll.

? The dolls had pre-recorded cylinders and in February 1889 became the first entertainment cylinders.

Though Thomas Edison’s doll was not a commercial success, it did bring about the first commercial recordings for the public. Entertainment for children was one of the first purposes of the phonograph, and talking dolls, toys and children’s phonographs and records have been marketed ever since.

The Rolfs authored the book Phonograph Dolls and Toys and will share some of their collection with the audience. They will share some of their collection of phonograph dolls from an early Edison to today’s digital dolls.

Admission to the presentation is free and reservations are recommended. Please contact the museum today to sign up.

This series of demonstrations, lectures and presentations was designed to help our community discover more about a wide variety of topics. The Curiosity Series takes place in the museum or the meeting room across from the museum in the lower level of the New London Public Library.

The next Curiosity Series is Saturday March 12 when Steve Petznick from Mosquito Hill will teach us all about choosing and using binoculars.

The New London Public Museum is a gathering place to explore history and discover a wider world. Exhibits include artifacts focusing on natural, local, Native American and multi-cultural history. The NLPM is located in the lower level of the New London Public Library, New London, Wisconsin, and is open 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Saturdays. The New London Public Museum can be reached at 920-982-8520 or [email protected].

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