Original Recording of Porfirio Díaz

We have covered Porfirio Díaz before in our SoFiA category. He is a controversial figure in Mexican history, former conservative president with a ruling style considered very repressive. So repressive that it was one of the main reasons for the Mexican revolution in 1910. His time in office even has its own freakin’ name: Porfiriato. And here, have a look at the legislative palace he wanted to build:

Needs more pillars!

However today we want to listen to him. Fortunately for us, a certain man lived and worked at the same time. That man, called Thomas Alva Edison gave Díaz the possibility to immortalize himself on a gold moulded cylinder.

The recording is remarkably clear, the Spanish is transcibed. Still many readers won’t be able to understand what Díaz says. Therefore behold, the English translation:

Narrator: Response from General Porfirio Diaz, President of the Mexican Republic, to a letter from Tomas A. Edison.

Diaz: Chapultepec, August 15, 1909. Mr. Thomas A Edison (valued and good friend).
I refer to your nice letter from July 8. I too like you remember with pleasure the time I had the chance of meeting and knowing your adventurous experiments, making me share in your unbreakable faith in the gracious future of empirical science.

It was back in your homeland, in the early days of electric light in New York. And since then I saw in you the talented heroe, a hard working winner, the one that later would discipline fire torn from the sky by Franklin, to eternalize the charming voice of loved ones here on earth in your wonderful phonographic equipment, reproducing every rythm, every accent and every modulation of the human language.

I am grateful to please you because I have very high regard for the great benefactors of humanity, and you are one of them, because you have created new sources of happiness, well-being and wealth for the human race, using the most powerful forces known: light, electricity, lavor and genius.

Your friend, who shakes your hand with pride,
Porfirio Díaz.

We can consider ourselves lucky to be able to listen to his voice (and other voices on other recordings) even after such a long time. And indeed we now see which astounding technology was developed after disciplining the fire from the sky. We can listen to a digital recording on a worldwide communication network in which you have found this site, because you were interested (or by pure chance). *sigh* It’s a beautiful world and that should motivate us to solve some more problems.

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