Frank Lambert (inventor)
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June 13, 1851
Francois Lambert (13 June 1851 – 1937) was a French American inventor. Lambert is perhaps best known today for making the second-oldest playable sound recording (1878), on his own version of the phonograph. Lambert was also famous for inventing a typewriter on which the keyboard consists of one single piece.
Lambert was born in Lyon, France; he relocated to the United States in 1876 and became a U.S. citizen in 1893.
Twelve years after arriving in the U.S., Lambert, along with a friend John Thomson, founded The Thomson Water Meter Co. to manufacture their design of a water meter.
In 1878 he built his own version of the sound recording device, the Phonograph.
Lambert recorded what was — until 2008 — considered to be the oldest extant recording, his Experimental Talking Clock (1878). A recording of Au Clair de la Lune by Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville from 1860 has been found to pre-date it. However, Lambert's recording is still the oldest which can be played with its own original device, not needing to be scanned digitally to play it.
Lambert completed his main invention, a typewriter on which the keyboard consists of one single piece. He sold it to the Gramophone Co. Ltd., for which he received USD$20,000.
Lambert's water meter company was sold outright to the Neptune Water Meter Co. and Lambert received USD$800,000.
Lambert married twice, firstly with Jeanne-Marie Douval (with whom he had five children) who died from an unknown cause, then Jeannette Justine Lawson Ebbets.
When Lambert died in 1937, he left his estate to his second wife, USD$20,000 to his daughter Jeanne and USD$30,000 to his only grandchild, Martha.
- Frank Lambert's Biography 
- The Second Oldest Playable Recording 
- Information on Lambert's Phonograph 
- Description of Lambert's typewriter