First words on a gramophone record
According to a pamphlet published by HMY history of gramophone recording, when Thom Edison invented the record, he wanted the voice of an eminent person to be on the first one. He wrote to Max Mueller, the German scholar, for whom he had great regard. Max Mueller agreed to come to a meeting of scholars in England, which Edison was to attend. At the meeting, Edison was introduced to the audience and he showed them his recording device.
He then invited Max Mueller to speak into the instrument. After he did so, Edison took it back to his lab. He returned in the afternoon with a disc. He played the record on the gramophone and the audience listened with rapt attention to a replay of Max Mueller’s words coming from the machine.
Max Mueller came back on stage and asked the audience if they had understood what he had said into the instrument. The audience remained silent.
‘Agni Mile Purohitam,’ said Max Mueller, ‘the first words I spoke into the record are Sanskrit. I was quoting the first verse of the Rig Veda. Vedas are the oldest texts of the human race. Agni mile Puron a prayer to Agni (fire), means, ‘Oh! Agni, you who gleam in the darkness. To you we come day by day, with devotion, bearing homage. So be of easy access to a son. Abide with us for our well-being.’
Soon after the record was replayed on the gramophone and this time, the audience stood up spontaneously and clapped.