Wax Cylinder recordings

Digital Services Tuesday, August 30, 2011 - 12:12

Recently I’ve been hunting for recordings of American jazz from pre-1920 for a new exhibition we’re working on. Normally the Internet turns up lots of results when looking for music recordings, but this search wasn’t locating the several popular songs of the day that I was interested in. It occurred to me that the era I was looking at pre-dated even the vinyl “record”, and were in fact likely to have been recorded on wax cylinders, a technology I would have thought long gone and the content contained on the media, lost.

I was pleased to discover the Cylinder Preservation and Digitisation Project at the University of California in Santa Barbara – not only are they preserving and digitizing the content of many wax cylinders, they are also making the recordings available online. They’ve also graciously given us permission to use a couple of these recordings in the upcoming exhibition. Stay tuned!

Meg Travers
Digital Archive Support Manager