Thomas Edison is credited with inventing the phonograph, completing his first model on August 12, 1877. Edison's creation was inspired by his work on improvements to the telephone and telegraph.
Realizing he could record sound on foil-coated cylinders, Edison created a machine with single needles for recording and playback. By speaking into the mouthpiece, Edison was able to indent the sound vibrations of his voice into the cylinder through the recording needle. The first phrase spoken into the machine by the inventor was "Mary had a little lamb." Public fascination with his discovery earned him the nickname "The Wizard of Menlo Park," after the city in which he did much of his work.