1 History 2 Microphone
2.1 Patent dispute
3 Loudspeaker 4 See also 5 References 6 External links
The first inventor of a telephone was Phillip Reis of Germany only musical not articulating. The first person to publicly exhibit a telephone for transmission of articulate speech was A. G. Bell. The first practical commercial telephone for transmission of articulate speech was invented by myself. Telephones used throughout the world are mine and Bell's. Mine is used for transmitting. Bell's is used for receiving. (Edison 2006, [LB020312 TAEM 83:170])
However Reis's telephone was not limited to musical sounds. Reis also
used his telephone to transmit the phrase "Das Pferd frisst keinen
Gurkensalat" (The horse does not eat cucumber salad). Because this
phrase is hard to understand acoustically in the German language, Reis
used it to prove that speech can be successfully recognized on the
As Reis was considering his invention as a means of broadcasting
music, he termed his microphone the 'singing station'. The Reis
microphone was based on a horizontal parchment diaphragm as a sound
transducer. The diaphragm was mounted on the top of a closed wooden
sound box, with a speaking horn on the front. Sound received by the
horn caused the diaphragm to vibrate. Above this were two brass
strips, later with two platinum contacts, orignially with a single
platinum contact and the lower contact formed of a drop of mercury in
a recess in the end of the screw. One strip was glued to the centre
of the diaphragm; another strip, usually two strips in a V, was
mounted above this. The strip's own weight gave a light pressure
between the contacts.
Sound vibrations caused the diaphragm and lower contact to vibrate in
sympathy. This changed the resistance between the two contacts, giving
an electrical signal to the telephone line.
There was some question as to the operation of the microphone. It is
regarded today as having varied the resistance of the contacts.
However Reis' own description claimed that the contacts opened and
closed. At the time, it was held that a circuit with such a 'make and
break' circuit was incapable of transmitting intelligible speech.
Reis' device had been used to transmit speech from 1861, and widely
publicly demonstrated from 1863, yet when Bell's patent claim was set
against Reis' primacy of inventing the telephone this 'inability' for
it to work because of its use of a "false theory" was enough to
(legally) portray Reis' invention as invalid, thus allowing Bell to
Reis's speaker worked by magnetostriction. In his first receiver he
wound a coil of wire around an iron knitting needle and rested the
needle against the F hole of a violin. As current passed through the
needle, the iron shrank and a click was produced. The image, below,
shows an advanced version where the iron bar is clamped to a
cigar-box-shaped resonator. This receiver is not very sensitive. It
produces weak sound but has good fidelity. It requires very high
current and is a current-sensitive device rather than a
This instrument could transmit continuous musical tones but produced
indistinct speech. In 1865, however, British
David E. Hughes
Telephone History of the telephone Invention of the telephone Timeline of the telephone List of German inventors and discoverers
^ "The Telephone" by Discovery Channel - link is BAD, redirects to Discovery Channel homepage ^ 1863 letter to William Ladd, in Thompson (1883) ^ a b "The Reis Transmitter 1862-1872". ^ Nature 106, p. 650
Edison, Thomas A. 2006. The Edison Papers, Digital Edition Rutgers
University, accessed 26 March 2006.
Legat, V. 1862. "Reproducing Sounds on Extra Galvanic Way". accessed
26 March 2006.
Friedrich Georg Wieck, Otto Wilhelm Ålund "Uppfinningarnas bok" vol.
Thompson, Sylvanus P. "Philipp Reis, Inventor of the Telephone"
London: E. & F.N. Spon, 1883.
Coe, Lewis "The
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