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“In the history of recorded sound that’s still playable, this is about as far back as we can go,” says John Schneiter, a trustee at the Museum of Innovation and Science in Schenectady, N.Y., where the 1878 recording was to be played Thursday night. It was made by a newspaper writer in St. Louis on a sheet of tinfoil using a phonograph invented by Thomas Edison. (The Associated Press)

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