Stephen Mitchell Yeates
Born 1832 Died 1901
Stephen Mitchell Yeates the son of an Instrument maker George
Mitchell Yeates was born in 1832. Stephen married and fathered
6 children but unfortunately Yeates and his wife only outlived
one child. It seems almost impossible that an individual suffering
this much heartbreak sustained a career as long as he did. Stephen
Mitchell Yeates ran the family business from 1865 to 1901 when
he died. The Yeates family business "Instrument Makers and Opticians"
first apeard in directories in 1790. The shop moved to 2 Grafton
St, Dublin in 1827. The business became Yeates and Son "Instrument
Makers and Opticians" in 1865 when Stephen Mitchell Yeats took
over the business which his father George Mitchell Yeates had
raised him in. The business advertised as "Instrument makers to
the University". They claimed to specialize in scientific and
educational instruments. The shop at 2 Grafton St was directly
across the street from Trinity College in Dublin. It was the business
from Trinity, which sustained the firm for so many years. In fact
some of the scientific instruments made by Yeates and Son still
exist today in Trinity College.
In 1865 he purchased a Reis "Das 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. This device consisted of an Electro magnet mounted above a sounding box. This improved the quality of the articulation of human speech the "Das Phone". Reis constructed and Electro magnetic receiver in his third form of the "Das Phone" but seemed to dismiss it fairly quickly moving on 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. Yeates 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. (S.P.Tompson Pg 128 Reis inventor of the telephone) 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 form the well-known inventors and moves him to the for front as a true pioneering inventor in the history of the telephone. It can be argued that it is Stephen Mitchell Yeates of Dublin who created the first hi functioning articulating telephone.
We know that this sounding box greatly improved the articulation of the device from the testimonies and documentation provided by S.P. Thompson of the eyewitness accounts.
"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 Clongowes 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 note-books, 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 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 places 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 Counical, Royal Irish
"Silvanus P. Thompson, Esq., University College, Bristol."
The three public demonstrations on record of the Yeats receiver in combination
with the Ries transmitter is:
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
The Dublin Philosophical Society registers; log book with minutes of the meeting (found in the Trinity College the Dublin Philosophical Society records department)
S. Thompson " Phillipp Reis Inventor of the telephone
Dublin Historical Record pg. 6-7 1943-1946
Published quartile by the old Dublin Society Vol. VI No. 4 Sept-Nov 1944 by Thos H. Mason, M.R.I.A. Dublin Opticians and Instrument Makers
Dr. Mollan 17 Pine law Black rock Dublin firstname.lastname@example.org
Vulagar and Mechanick-J.E. Burnett A.D. Morrison-Low pg. 42,45,46, 139
Device last seen at Clongowes Wood College
Note* The Dublin Philosophical Society was later changed to the Elizabethan Society