|First Facsimile Machine
In 1863 Giovanni Caselli patents the pantelegraph, his apparatus for transmission of facsimile in the USA. Caselli constructs a device that uses two synchronized pendulums to which metallic pointers are attached; one detects a message handwritten on a metal plate with non-conducting ink.1857 to 1865. The pantelegraph is based on earlier ideas of Sir Charles Wheatstone, Alexander Bain, and Frederick Bakewell. Caselli's first facsimile machine operates from1865-1870 with the connection running from Paris to Lyon.
The International Telegraph Union
By 1862, 150,000 miles of telegraph cable cover the world. With 48,000 miles in the USA and15,000 Miles in Great Britain, the international community calls for an international body to regulate communications standards. In an answer to this request, the International Telegraph Union (ITU) is founded and twenty countries agree to cooperate in setting international standards ensuring that countries will be able to communicate with each other.
Stephen Mitchell Yeates Perfects Reis's Invention
Stephen Mitchell Yeates ran his family's business, "Instrument Makers and Opticians" which billed itself as "instrument makers to the University" and claimed to specialize in scientific and educational instruments. The shop was directly across the street from Trinity College in Dublin, and in fact it was the business from Trinity which sustained the firm for so many years. Some of the scientific instruments made by Yeates and Son still exist today in Trinity College.
In 1865 he purchased a Reis phone from a Mr. W. Ladd of London. After examining the instrument carefully, Stephen rejected the knitting needle receiver and redesigned a completely new sounding box to replace it. His electro-magnetic receiver had an armature, a strip of iron, which was attached at one end by a very stiff steel string to a pine wood sounding board over a hollow wooden box, from the base of which rose a metal pillar which supported the electro-magnet. This receiver also contains all the elements of a successful receiver, the armature being of material capable of inductive action, and the sound box provided adequate surface to communicate the vibrations of air. This improved the quality of the articulation of human speech the phone. Reis constructed an electro magnetic receiver in the third version of "Das Phone" but seemed to dismiss it fairly quickly moving back to the knitting needle receiver, which resembled Reis's first and second form of receiver. When we compare the two devices as seen here we can see that the Yeates device was truly a brilliant complement to the Reis transmitter because it not only encompassed a sounding board but also a sounding box. Yeatess device consisted of an electromagnet mounted above a sounding box, having a vibrating armature furnished with an adjusting screw to regulate its distance from the poles of the electromagnet. This instrument worked, even when the armature was in absolute contact with both poles of the electromagnet, and as the magnet did not during the experiments lose its hold on the armature, it was clear that the effects were due to alterations in the intensity of the magnetism of the magnet. (Tompson, P. 128). It is important to note that Yeates's electro magnet solution comes to us a solid 10 years before Edison's, Gray's or A.G. Bell's Electro magnets. It is this which sets Yeates apart from the well-known inventors and moves him to the forefront as a true pioneering inventor in the history of the telephone. It is Stephen Mitchell Yeates of Dublin who created the first high functioning articulating telephone.
The three public demonstrations on record of the Yeates receiver in combination with the Reis transmitter are:
1) March 14th of 1865 Trinity College in Dublin., The Dublin Philosophical Society
2) October 5th on Nassau St at the residence of Horatio Yeates brother of Stephen Mitchell Yeates.
3) November of 1865 at Trinity College in Dublin., The Dublin Philosophical Society
Yeates conducted a public demonstration of the device for the Dublin Philosophical Society on March 14th of 1865. The meeting was held in Trinity College. The meeting of the Philosophical Society was recorded on a paper as being about Tennyson's earlier poems. Mr. Yeates also addressed the meeting. It was not until the end of the meeting that Yeates demonstrated his device. Edmound Armstrong was the president of the Dublin Philosophical Society at the time of Yeatess demonstration. We know that this sounding box greatly improved the articulation of the device from the testimonies and documentation provided by "The London Times" reporter S.P. Thompson in his book on the telephone and its inventors:
"There are several residing at present in Dublin who were present at my telephonic experiments in 1865; three of them, namely, Dr. W. Frazer, Mr. A.M. Vereker, and Mr. E.C. Tuke, took an active part in the experiments, and remember all the circumstances connected with them. The voice of each was instantly recognized in the receiver; in fact, this point attracted special attention at the time.
"I had no knowledge at the time that Reis had used an electromagnetic receiver, nor did I know that Reis was the inventor of the instrument which I got from Mr. Ladd.
'The original instrument made by me is, I believe, still in the Museum at Colognes Wood College. The President kindly lent it to me some time ago, and I returned it to him again after showing it to Professor Barrett. I have a cut of this receiver, which I will send to you if it will be of any use to you.
"William Frazer, Esq., M.D.,
20 Harcourt St, Dublin,
March 13, 1883
"I have a distinct recollection of the telephone. We had a small private club meeting once each month for scientific purposes. On referring to my notebooks, I find that there was a meeting on Thursday evening, October 5th, 1865. It was held in Nassau Street, at the residence Mr. Horatio Yeates, Now in Australia, and brother of Mr. Stephen Yeates. The telephone was upstairs, in the third story of the house, and the voice heard in the hall. Mr. Vereker, of the Bank of Ireland, Mr. John Rigby, of rifle celebrity, the two Mr. Yeates, and, I think, Mr. Tuke, were present with myself.
There were some others, whom I cannot now recollect, but our club was small.
"Rigby sang "Patrick's Day" and God Save the Queen" and various questions were asked and answered. The separate words were most distinct, the singing less so; but there was no difficulty in recognizing the individual who spoke by his voice.
"Being much interested in the subject, I got Mr. Yeates allow the apparatus to be shewn at a Conversazione (Presbyterian Young men's) at the Rotunda on October 12, at 8 P.M.
His assistant, Mr. Tuke, took charge of it that night. It was placed in a side room off the main round room of the buildings.
"I exhibited at the October 5th meeting of our club a specimen termed "locust gum," probably derived from some Robinia, but really can tell you nothing more about it. There is merely a brief note of it in my Private memoranda.
"Yours, Dear Sir,
Believe me very truly,
Fellow and Examiner, Royal College of Surgeons,
Ireland, Member of Council, Royal Irish
Silvanus P. Thompson, Esq., University College, Bristol."
Despite their brilliant efforts neither Yeates nor Reis received the credit which they should have for their roles as the first inventors of the telephone. This brings into light the following question: who should receive credit for the invention of the telephone? The person who actually invented the first functioning telephone or the person who brought the telephone into popular culture? I would hope that we would still respect the rights and intellectual property of the original inventors.
The Secret of Joseph Henry
1866 Alexander Graham Bell incorrectly assumes that sound travels through wires. That same summer Bell had discovered Herman Von Helmholtzs instrument through his friend Alexander Ellis. While Bell was looking at the illustration of the instrument, Ellis translated parts of the German text for Bell. After asking Ellis many questions, Bell came away with absolutely the wrong concept about how the device worked. Helmholtzs device generated vowel sounds, but Bell concluded that the device transmitted the vowel sounds over a wire, which of course it did not. This was partly because neither Bell nor Ellis understood the basics of electricity and partly due to the misunderstandings of translation from German to English.
It would be another eight years before A.G.Bell would learn about the already successful phone constructed by Philipp Reis in Germany and then further perfected by Yeates in Ireland. After hearing the news of the Reis phone the year Reis died in 1874, A.G. Bell almost collapsed with disappointment. We learn in a letter from A.G. Bells wife to her sister that the following year Bell called on Joseph Henry at the Smithsonian to further inquire about the Reis phone. In the meeting Bell asked Henry if he knew about the device invented by Reis of Germany. Henry told Bell not only did he know about the Das Phone but that he had one right here in the room! Henry pulled out the phone and showed A.G. Bell the device. Bell them asked if he would show the Reis invention at the up coming Centennial in Philadelphia. Henry laughed and said told Bell "Not to worry". The Ries phone is much too difficult to work; besides your phone works so much better! I will not bring the Reis phone to Philadelphia. You will do fine there, don't forget that I will head up the judging committee at the Centennial.
The End of the Line