This is an experimental sound recording made in the Volta Laboratory, Washington, D.C. In a ring around the center, it is marked with the initials for Sumner Tainter, one of the Volta Laboratory Associates, and a date: “S.T. Dec. 29th 1881.” This recording was copied from an 1881 master at an unknown later date.
Sound was recovered from this recording in 2013.
Content transcript: “…[indistinct] I am a magnetical graphophone. What are you? To be, or not to be: that is the question. [trilled r sounds] How is that for high?”
Leslie J. Newville, “Development of the Phonograph at Alexander Graham Bell's Volta Laboratory,” in Contributions from the Museum of History and Technology, United States National Museum Bulletin 218, Paper 5 (1959): 69-79.