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1894 Birthday Party--Recorded!  

How do you celebrate your birthday?  

Some dine at a special restaurant. 

On my birthday, (which happens to be my Mom's birthday, too) Diana bakes a spectacular apple cake—loaded with cinnamon.  This is I adorn with a mountain of whipped cream.

I was recently let in on a birthday celebration from 1894.  They recorded it!  (at least part of it). 

Before mp3 files or CDs or vinyl records, people recorded audio by speaking into a metal “horn” that recorded onto a small wax cylinder (about the size of a large can of peaches).   The sound was scratchy, but it did the job.

Recording from 1894 Birthday!

In the amazing book and compilation, Waxing the Gospel, the October 22nd, 1894 birthday of one Joseph Sawyer was recorded.   As you listen, you hear Joseph himself give the date and announce in a strong voice, “This is my seventy-first birthday, and I am very glad to see my children and grandchildren here.”  His children, and grandchildren then all offer a short tribute.

His wife follows singing a verse of her husband's favorite hymn, Rock of Ages.  Then...amazingly...the entire family gathers around and boldly sings the Doxology:

Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

Born in 1823

Think of it.  I was listening to the celebration of a man born in 1823.    Thomas Jefferson was still alive.  D.L. Moody had not yet been born.  The Civil War was nearly four decades away.

Of course, God heard this all “live.”  I only heard it recorded.  But you know, I'm wondering if Joseph Sawyer would mind if I borrowed his Doxology idea, should God grace me with another birthday.   I'm guessing not.

So dust off your hymnal.  Loosen up those vocal cords.  We'll plan to sing then, Lord willing!


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Jon GaugerJon Gauger

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