The Only Footage of Mark Twain


Samuel Clemens, a.k.a Mark Twain, was great friends with American inventor and businessman Thomas Edison. Edison once said, “An average American loves his family. If he has any love left over for some other person, he generally selects Mark Twain.”

In 1909, Edison visited Twain’s home in Redding, CT, and filmed the famous author, creating the only known recording of the man in existence. Twain, very interested in the inventions Edison showed him, tried to record himself reciting his short story “An American Claimant” in a phonograph, but after 48 tries to get it perfectly, he gave up, and his attempts were lost. He tried again later at Edison’s laboratory in New York, but those cylinders were destroyed in a fire in 1914.


(via Mental Floss)


One thought on “The Only Footage of Mark Twain

  1. The film is silent, and that’s how Twain will remain to history – sadly, no recordings exist of the famous author’s voice. But it’s not for lack of trying on Twain’s part. In 1891 Twain attempted to dictate his novella “An American Claimant.” But after burning through 48 wax cylinders in the phonograph, he gave up. Those 48 cylinders are now lost. He tried again in 1909 at Edison’s lab, but those recordings were lost in a 1914 fire.

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