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Museum of Missing Sounds

Here is a small museum of sounds that we no longer hear in our daily lives. Still present in our lives a few years ago for some, others disappeared a long time ago. Like a physical museum, this page is intended to bring together and make accessible to all, this collective heritage through a selection.

The sounds are sorted in reverse chronological order. Indeed, it is quite easy to date the "birth" of a noise thanks to the date of the invention of the object or of its democratization or its discovery. However, it is very difficult to date its disappearance: there are still people who continue to listen to the old cassette which has remained stuck in the car radio, or who restore, maintain and use old machines... So this is the date of "birth" noises which allows the sorting

The museum being still in the process of being set up, it is still quite poor, but I am working on it.

Excellent visit, here we touch with the ears 👂

The collection

1995 › 56k Modem › 2008

56k Modem

It was an electronic box allowing to connect to the internet thanks to the telephone line. This was before the arrival of ADSL, optical fiber and the mobile network. The connection was long, noisy and cut the phone line. This is the noise that everyone born before 1990 has experienced.

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1990 › Compact disc › 2000

Compact disc

Developed by the Sony and Philips brands, it is a physical medium for storing data in digital form. An optical drive was required and spun the CD rapidly during playback. It has been supplanted by dematerialized media.

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1984 › 3.5" floppy disk › 1995

3.5" floppy disk

The floppy disk could store 1.33 MB of computer data. It often took a whole bunch of them to install a complete piece of software. Reading and writing was long and noisy.

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1980 › Paper Plans and Maps › 2000

Paper Plans and Maps

Plans and national paper maps have been slowly replaced by GPS. But before the 2000s, with almost everyone having a car, the map was the only way to navigate the roads. They are still widely used by many people to guide themselves without devices, as GPS does not show all the paths and does not work very well in many localities or conditions.

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1980 › single-use camera › 2000

single-use camera

Almost entirely made of plastic, the "disposable" camera had 3 characteristic noises: The flash which recharges, the dry click as well as the winder with the noise of plastic. The camera existed in several variations: with or without flash, waterproof, ISO 200 or 400, panoramic, black & white or color, etc.

1973 › Mobile phone with keys › 2007

Mobile phone with keys

Because before phones were all touchscreen, they had keys.

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1970 › VHS › 2000

VHS

VHS (for Video Home System) is a standard for recording video signals on magnetic tape. The readers made characteristic noises that many people still have in their ears.

1969 › 16mm camera

16mm camera

This is the operating noise of a 16mm H16 Reflex camera (1956) from the manufacturer Bolex Paillard. In this non-motorized version, it was necessary to wind up the springs with a crank to operate the device.

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1963 › Audio cassette › 2000

Audio cassette

Invented by Lou Ottens, then director of Philips Audio, it is a recording medium that contains two reels around which a magnetic tape is wound. It was very successful until the appearance of CDs.

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1958 › Rotary dial

Rotary dial

A dial of the time made it possible to dial a number. You put your finger in the hole corresponding to the number you want, you turn the dial to the metal stop and you release the dial, which returns to its initial position. The longer the return time, the further the corresponding number is from the stop and therefore in this list: 1234567890. To make this sound, I dialed my own phone number, so text me if you find out .

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1951 › Vinyl record

Vinyl record

A plastic disc rotated at constant speed on a platter. A spiral-shaped "microgroove" ran from the outside to the inside of the record. A microscopic point was guided in the furrow vibrating to the rhythm of the hollows and bumps drawn in this furrow. This vibration that was amplified to listen to a recording.

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1950 › Window crank › 2010

Gently replaced by the electric window, the crank, and its noise, we still have a special place in our memory.

No audio yet :(

1950 › VéloSoleX › 1988

Commonly called "Solex", it is a type of bike, robust, with a heat engine driving the front wheel. It was a very underpowered moped, not exceeding 40 km/h. It's a bit like the ancestor of the electrically assisted bicycle.

No audio yet :(

1950 › Slide Viewer

Slide Viewer

Slightly different from the slide projector, this device made it possible to comfortably view the contents of a slide alone.

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1950 › Slide projector

Slide projector

It is a projector and a lens between which is inserted a photograph in transparency. the image is therefore projected against a screen, making it possible to show photographs to a large number of people.

No audio yet :(

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1946 › Film camera

Film camera

In sound and image, it is a Kodak Six-20 Brownie C. It was assembled in Great Britain from 1946 to 1953. But film photography existed long before.

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1940 › Hand-cranked ticket validator › 1970

Hand-cranked ticket validator

At that time, the collector issued the tickets and introduced them into the slot of his machine (nicknamed "moulinette") and gave a turn of the crank to obliterate them with a rattling noise. To obliterate means: to make a mark which makes it possible to cancel the validity.

No audio yet :(

1933 › Speaking clock (French) › 2022

Inaugurated on February 14, 1933, it is available by telephone via numbers ending with 84 00. In 1991, it became totally electronic: it is still these voices that you hear in the audio files below, recorded to tell the time until 2085. The service will be interrupted on July 1, 2022. More info on wiki.

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1932 › 8mm projector

8mm projector

8 mm, also called double 8, is an amateur cinema film format launched in 1932 by Kodak using 8 mm wide film.

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1925 › Flash-lamp › 1960

In 1925, Paul Vierkötter invented the first electric flash bulb for photography. These light bulbs produced a flash from the combustion of an agglomerate of sheets and very fine aluminum wire. These flashbulbs were single-use. They quickly replaced dangerous magnesium equipment: "Flash Powder" flashes.

No audio yet :(

1905 › CRT screen › 2000

CRT screen

Invented in 1897, the cathode ray tube made very recognizable noises when switching on and off, but also when there was that famous "snow". With the advent of the flat screen, this technology no longer exists in our daily lives.

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1891 › 35mm projector

35mm projector

Long before the arrival of digital, movie theaters had a big projector in front of which passed a 35 mm wide tape. The tape contained 24 images for 1 second, part of which was reserved for the soundtrack. This sound is that of a 35mm cinema projector, brand Kinoton model FP30. The one I worked on when I was a projectionist.

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1890 › Starting crank › 1950

Starting crank

Used to start an internal combustion engine, the starting crank was fitted to all vehicles. Before being slowly replaced by the electric starter, invented in 1910.

This sound is the crank start of a 1903 De Dion-Bouton Type Q.

1887 › Flash powder › 1925

Flash powder

In the middle of the 19th century, the average exposure time in photography was around 30 seconds. In 1887, Adolf Mieetke and Johannes Gaedicke invented "Flashing Powder". It is an explosive mixture made of magnesium, potassium chlorate and antimony. Once ignited, its combustion provides a bright light, noise but also a lot of smoke. The first flash was born and made it possible to shorten exposure times.

Thanks to Gerry OULEVAY (GerryOulevay.ch), photographed by Chantal CODOUREY PIGUET.

1880 › Phonograph › 1920

Phonograph

The phonograph is a device designed to record and then reproduce sound by a purely mechanical process. Thomas Edison filed the patent for the phonograph in 1877. Using tin cylinders, then wax, the rotation was ensured continuously by a crank which would later be replaced by an electric motor. The cylinders will be replaced by the records of Emile Berliner's "Gramophone".

To illustrate, here is a video of the collective "Popuri fun Yidishe Operetn" recording the piece "Kishinevskaya" on a wax roll with an "Edison 1906" model phonograph at Le Gué in Plélan-le-Grand on August 25, 2020. We see the start of the phonograph by Olivier Richaume, then the orchestra play close to the cornet so that the sound is engraved on the wax cylinder. The sound is that of the restitution of this sound by the phonograph.

No audio yet :(

1850 › Carriage › 1900

Carriage

Still used for leisure and sometimes still for work, horses and their horse-drawn carriages were very present in agriculture (with plows, to work the land) and transport (with carriages), for example. Animal traction slowly gave way to cars, tractors, trucks and other motorized vehicles. The horse-drawn carriage experienced a golden age between the years 1850 to 1900 approximately.

No audio yet :(

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1847 › Mechanical alarm clock

Mechanical alarm clock

The mechanical spring clock, sometimes equipped with an alarm clock, worked without a battery. It had to be wound every 24 hours with a manual key to be able to function.

The characteristic sound of its mechanism is "Tic Tac".

The mechanical alarm clock was a simple clock, with an additional hand pointing to the desired wake-up time. When the hour had arrived, a small metal rod struck a small bell tirelessly.

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1840 › Typewriter

Typewriter

1840: Invention of the typewriter with ink ribbon, by Oliver T. Eddy, in Baltimore.

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1840 › Steam locomotive whistle › 1950

Steam locomotive whistle

This big whistle worked thanks to the steam produced by the locomotive to move forward. We opened a tap to make the train whistle.

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1840 › Coffee grinder

Coffee grinder

The Peugeot coffee grinder was designed in 1840. Before that many other types of grinders existed. However, in this one, the coffee beans were loaded from above, the crank was turned and the coffee powder fell into a small drawer.

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1830 › Sewing machine (non-motorized) › 1937

Sewing machine (non-motorized)

The sewing machine has been around since 1830. First made of wood, it has evolved over the years. The bobbin sewing machine (therefore two threads) was invented in 1834. The foot-operated sewing machine with a pedal was patented in 1868. They were motorized in 1937.

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1776 › Mechanical chronograph

Intended to precisely measure the time between two events (a race start and finish, for example), the chronograph was mechanical before becoming digital. Its characteristic noise is still present in the collective memory.

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1770 › Steam machine › 1950

Used in industry, mills, boats, vehicles or locomotives, the steam engine is an engine using water vapor as energy. It is therefore necessary to heat water, the pressure of the steam then actuates pistons and then wheels to drive an industrial machine or a vehicle.

No audio yet :(

1739 › Mechanical spring winder

Mechanical spring winder

The spring winder was invented by English watchmaker John Harrison. It has been widely used in watchmaking as well as in toys, music boxes, automatons...

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1680 › Longcase pendulum clock › 1915

Longcase pendulum clock

Bell of a comtoise-type longcase pendulum clock, striking the exact hour.

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1669 › Libra Roberval › 1980

Libra Roberval

Invented around 1669 by Gilles personne, the production of the Roberval balance became important from 1850.

1505 › Barrel organ › 1950

It is a mechanical wind musical instrument classified as an organ. It is one of the “automatophones”. Very widespread, we all imagine the music of old carousels.

No audio yet :(

1500 › Wooden clog › 1880

Wooden clog

The clog is originally a shoe made by hollowing out a piece of wood. It appeared between 1480 and 1520. It was the peasants who made the greatest use of it before 1880.

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1433 › Arm pump

Arm pump

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1300 › Grinder › 1950

Also called grinder or ironer, he is a craftsman who sharpens the blades of sharp instruments (knives, scissors, etc.) with a grinder. Often itinerant, he once moved from town to town with a small mobile millstone.

More info .

No audio yet :(

1300 › Spinning wheel › 1800

Spinning wheel
Spinning wheel

A spinning wheel is a device for spinning thread or yarn from fibres.

900 › Roman scales › 1940

Roman scales

It is an object equipped with a hook to fix the thing to be weighed, a ring to hold the balance and a counterweight intended to find the point of balance. When the object is in balance, the position of the counterweight indicates the mass, often by a number engraved on the balance.

500 › Town crier › 1950

Announcing himself with a bell, a drum or a trumpet, the town crier was important in the Middle Ages, until the middle of the 20th century. This itinerant profession is still somewhat present in certain countries (Africa, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia), during particular events (such as Frédéric Ganga at the La Ciotat market), in a few localities or for specific reasons (In Africa South, the "whale crier" is responsible for announcing the arrival of cetaceans in the bay and where they can be observed).

No audio yet :(

300 › Dip pen › 1820

Dip pen

Before the metal "fountain pen", we used real feathers to write (goose, turkey, crow, capercaillie and duck).

250 BC › Watermill

Watermill

Appearing for the first time in 250 BC, it is a technological system allowing the current of a river to be used to operate a rotating machine.

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3 100 BC › Sword › 1600

swords were used in hand-to-hand combat. Unfortunately, humans have since developed far more lethal weapons, so sword sounds are a thing of the past.

300 000 BC › Fire (friction)

Fire (friction)

The technique requires a "fire board" with a small hole and notch. A "drill" (or "rod"), must be rotated rapidly in the notch, with or without a "fire arc" (or "bow"), to generate embers which will fall onto the fuel placed just below . Blowing on the embers will ignite a flame that will need to be maintained quickly.

No audio yet :(

300 000 BC › Fire (firesteel) › 450

Fire (firesteel)

Contrary to popular belief, you don't hit two flints. Fire by percussion is: hitting an iron sulphide (marcasite or pyrite) using a hard stone (flint, quartz, granite or even another nodule of iron sulphide) above a combustible such as as flammable mushroom powder (tinder) or certain plant marrows. When the fuel begins to take, it is necessary to add a few dry plants and to blow so that the flames appear.

Here is a short explanatory video.

Remaining collection to be dated

Undated › Horn Ooogah

Horn Ooogah

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Undated › Parquet brush

Parquet brush

Undated › Hand-cranked mixer

Hand-cranked mixer

Before being motorized, the beaters were manual, with crank.

Undated › Kitchen lighter

Kitchen lighter

Before the fuel lighter, these were equipped with a stone making a spark when handled, lighting the fire in the gas stove.

Undated › Mortar and pestle

Mortar and pestle

But still ?

If you are interested in the subject, search for the term "Sound Archeology". It brings together a whole bunch of very interesting research on the "soundscape memory", thanks to renowned researchers such as "Mylène PARDOEN".

There are also other missing sound sites, such as KeepTheSound or SaveTheSounds

If you have any suggestions, ideas, contact me!

Museum exhibition

The exhibition of this museum is easy thanks to a sound diffusion system. LaSonotheque has developed one perfectly intended for this type of sound installation: "Exposi'Son".

Thanks

Thanks to Clara and Gilles SARDIN, my parents, for their help, numerous recordings and photos.

- Joseph SARDIN - Founder of BigSoundBank.com - About - Contact

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