Sound on Film

Sound on Film Experiment

This picture shows Joseph Tykociner and the equipment he used to demonstrate the first recording of sound on film on June 9, 1922. Tykociner's short 'talkie' showed his wife, Helena, saying "I will ring" and then hitting a bell, followed by a collegue reading the Gettysburg Address. 

Although largely forgotten, the first demonstration of sound on film occurred at the University of Illinois on June 9, 1922. Professor Joseph Tykociner presented a short “talkie” to the electrical engineering department at the university. Tykociner worked with other faculty from the university, including theoretical physicist Jakob Kunz, to develop the technology needed to simultaneously record sound and picture on film. A key piece to the projector Tykociner used was the photoelectric cell Kunz had developed. Soon after the first demonstration Tykociner applied for a patent, however the patent was not awarded until 1926. The reason for the delay was a disagreement between Tykociner and university president David Kinley over who would own the patent rights. Tykociner believed he should own the rights while Kinley argued the university did since Tykociner was an employee. A consequence of the delay was that Tykociner’s design was never used commercially and many credit Theodore Case with inventing sound on film even though Tykociner's demonstration occured three years before Case's.