Visit the Museum of Endangered Sounds, and Experience a Blast from Technology’s Past

As gearheads go, Brendan Chilcutt’s a pretty sentimental guy, and not just because he signs his correspondence with “love.” In January, 2012, he founded the Museum of Endangered Sounds to keep outmoded technology’s most iconic noises from vanishing from the collective memory. Click on any image in the museum’s online collection to be transported in the Proustian sense.

Some of the exhibits—a manual typewriter, a rotary phone—were already amply preserved, thanks to a proliferation of cinematic appearances in their heyday.

Others might well have slipped away unnoticed, if not for Chilcutt’s curatorial efforts. Remember that number you could call to have a recorded voice inform you of the correct time? How about the static of an analog TV tuned to an empty station? The hum of a malfunctioning Discman, the chirp of a Tamagotchi…wait, what’s that I hear? The disconcerting whoosh of time speeding up?

Drown it out by activating all thirty exhibits at once. Let them sound their barbaric yawps simultaneously as the kids try to figure out what that racket is.

h/t goes to @sheerly

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  • Could you add the Mac starting up music sound as I think that may be a dead duck soon too :>]

  • Art Shifrin says:

    MEridian 7-1212 (in modern parlance 637-1212) was the # to call for the correct time. A ‘playlet’ (by Irving Reiss) of the same title was broadcast by “The Columbia Workshop” (a progressive & eclectic non-commercial weekly radio series on CBS) on August 24, 1939. It entertainingly dramatized the importance to different people, in different circumstances of precisely knowing the time.

    AT&T operators are heard switching (not simulated) long distance connections in another CBS program (The 50th Anniversary of AT&T , broadcast April 28, 1935.

    I’m pretty sure (I have to check the recording) that AT&T operators are also heard switching lines during the
    first coast-to-coast broadcast of 17 stations via an ad-hoc AT&T network on September 12, 1924. The program was part of The First National Defense Test Day nation-wide activities.

    Another genre of sounds to be considered is that of vehicles, especially ‘extinct’ ones. Some 78 rpm disks containing recordings (NOT simulations) of trains and station announcements were commercially released. One that I have
    contains the sounds of the Union Pacific
    M-10000: the first non-steamer streamlined train to cross the country (in 1934).

  • nonsequitania says:

    Domain name expired on 12.04.14 pending renewal or deletion. Are the sounds preserved anywhere else? Can we donate to a Kickstarter to keep it going? (Can we use sounds in presentations (e.g. university open days) for a small fee that goes towards R&D of an interactive archive?) Anyone have any info?

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