Extracting High-Quality Sound from Sealed Master Molds

Grant to: Friends of Thomas Edison National Historical Park (2021)


An award in the amount of $8,653.00 to Friends of Thomas Edison National Historical Park in 2021.


“We are gratified to receive this Grant for Audio Preservation from the National Recording Preservation Foundation,” says Larry Fast, Trustee, The Friends of Thomas Edison National Historical Park. “The money will fund research to determine best practices for digitizing Thomas Edison National Historical Park’s priceless collection of disc record ‘Master Molds.’ These metal molds contain the master recordings from inventor Thomas Edison’s catalog of music recorded in New York City and European cities during the 1910s and 1920s. The molds are too fragile to digitize via the traditional stylus-playback method, so we will digitize a pair of molds using the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s “IRENE” system. IRENE (an acronym for Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.) uses a non-contact 3-D scanner to recover audio from phonograph records. This is exciting research because an Edison Master Mold has never been digitized using IRENE.”

About the NRPF

The National Recording Preservation Foundation (NRPF) is an independent, charitable organization and registered 501(c)(3) entity. The NRPF works across the United States to foster awareness of the diverse perspectives and communities documented in audio, to support the preservation of historical and at-risk audio collections, and to coordinate resources for the digital preservation of audio recordings. The NRPF was mandated through federal charter by the U.S. Congress under the National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 (Pub. L. 106-474) and was thereafter duly incorporated in 2010.

Return to Grants List