Considering our tendency for centralised topic threads (when did this start anyway?), I thought it would be appropriate to have a "random history thread" for historical questions or discussions that arise from time to time and would be too in-depth for the 100k topic. So allow me to start by directing your attention to a quite spectacular recent find. According to a German language online magazine, the first and only known recordings of the "Iron Chancellor", Otto von Bismarck, have appeared. The jist of the article is as follows: Back in 1889, a colleague of Thomas Edison toured Europe to present Edison's phonograph, and collect recordings of prominent personalities in hope of creating lucrative advertisements for boosting sale of pre-recorded cylinders. Among those recorded made were people such as Johannes Brahms and the children of German emperor Wilhelm II, and, as mentioned, Otto von Bismarck, who was still chancellor of Germany at the time. It turns out that the cylinders were stored in a wooden crate at Edison's place that was discovered in 1957, but was dismissed, as many cylinders were broken, and unmarked. Now, two historians of German and American origin respectively, have rediscovered this crate and listened to the badly damaged recordings. One of the recordings was introduced with the word "Friedrichsruh", which is well-known to have been Bismarck's residence, and it turns out Bismarck himself made a brief recording to show off his language skills. The recording includes segments from the then-popular American song "In Good Old Colony Days", the German poem "Schwäbische Kunde", the Latin student song "Gaudeamus igitur", the "Marseillaise" and an ironic advice to his son. The recording is linked to in the article, but a better, digitally cleansed version (with an extensive bilingual caption) can be found here. The same article also makes mention of a recording of the prominent Prussian general Helmuth Moltke found in the same context. Moltke was around 90 years of age at that time. So the content of the recording isn't particularly noteworthy (it's less than one and a half minutes long), but it is a spectacular find nonetheless, considering it is the only known voice recording of one of the most important personalities of the 19th century, no less. I know I was quite thrilled when I read and heard this.