Euphonia

From the unsettling annals of the Uncanny Valley comes this archival photo of an invention by a German immigrant named Joseph Faber, who exhibited his creation in December, 1845 at the Musical Fund Hall in Philadelphia. By working a foot pedal-driven bellows and a keyboard, Faber was able to make his “Wonderful Talking Machine” mimic human speech. Most who saw her were disturbed by Euphonia’s disembodied head and otherworldly voice, or else were convinced it was a ventriloquist fake. Faber expected his invention to earn him fame and fortune, and eventually took his own life when it went largely ignored by an unappreciative public. But Melville Bell was in attendance and later described the apparatus to his son, Alexander Graham Bell. The rest, as they say, is history…