Wax cylinder recordings tell story of culture across the centuries ABC Online A team of sound archivists worked to 'reverse engineer' the workings of the phonograph. "There's no electricity," said Mr McDonald. For the first time in 80 years, a commercial music recording has been made on an Edison phonograph - technology that was invented in the 1890s. Aboriginal singer-songwriting duo Stiff Gins were inspired to reprise the old technology when they heard a 100-year-old wax cylinder recording of a Tasmanian Aboriginal woman. "When we heard it, it was not just of another time and place, that's simplifying it," said Stiff Gins singer Nardi Simpson.