Historic Hood River
This image is dated July 6, 1914. It shows William Ellis at age 85. The Hood River Glacier had a nice article marking his 84th birthday:
“Grandpa” Ellis Celebrates Birthday
“Grandpa” William Ellis celebrated
his eighty-fourth birthday at the Dickinson house Sunday, when Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Dickinson surprised him with a dinner party. Mr. Ellis is one of the oldest members of the local Masonic lodge and five of his Masonic brethern were invited to enjoy the feast with him. Those spending the evening with Mr. Ellis were: Judge G. R. Castner, A. C. Buck, Truman Butler, C. K. Carson and D. McDonald. In the morning Mr. Ellis had spoken into a blank record of a phonograph. The machine was brought in and the speech was made at the dinner.
Edison phonographs could be used to record audio, two minutes at a time, if you had the “recorder” attachment and a blank wax cylinder. I actually own one of these and have tried to make recordings a few times. It’s not easy, but to yell into a horn and have it yell back at you, a bit scratchy and muffled, still seems like magic.