The story of Alexander Graham Bell's invention of the telephone has been told and retold. How he became involved in the difficult task of making practical phonograph records, and succeeded (in association with Charles Sumner Tainter and Chichester Bell), is not so well known. But material collected through the years by the U. S. National Museum of the Smithsonian Institution now makes clear how Bell and two associates took Edison's tinfoil machine and made it reproduce sound from wax instead of tinfoil. They began their work in Washington, D. C. , in 1879, and continued until granted basic patents in 1886 for recording in wax. Preserved at the Smithsonian are some 20 pieces of experimental apparatus, including a number of complete machines. Their first experimental machine was sealed in a box and deposited in the Smithsonian archives in 1881. The others were delivered by Alexander Graham Bell to the National Museum in two lots in 1915 and 1922. Bell was an old man by this time, busy with his aeronautical experiments in Nova Scotia.