Heroes of the Telegraph
J. Munro

Part 4 out of 4

After 1878 Edison became too much engaged with the development of the
electric light to give much attention to the phonograph, which, however,
was not entirely overlooked. His laboratory at Menlo Park, New Jersey,
where the original experiments were made, was turned into a factory for
making electric light machinery, and Edison removed to New York until
his new laboratory at Orange, New Jersey, was completed. Of late he has
occupied the latter premises, and improved the phonograph so far that it
is now a serviceable instrument. In one of his 1878 patents, the use of
wax to take the records in place of tinfoil is indicated, and it is
chiefly to the adoption of this material that the success of the
'perfected phonograph' is due. Wax is also employed in the
'graphophone' of Mr. Tainter and Professor Bell, which is merely a
phonograph under another name. Numerous experiments have been made by
Edison to find the bees-wax which is best adapted to receive the record,
and he has recently discovered a new material or mixture which is stated
to yield better results than white wax.

The wax is moulded into the form of a tube or hollow cylinder, usually 4
1/4 inches long by 2 inches in diameter, and 1/8 inch thick. Such a
size is capable of taking a thousand words on its surface along a
delicate spiral trace; and by paring off one record after another can be
used fifteen times. There are a hundred or more lines of the trace in
the width of an inch, and they are hardly visible to the naked eye.
Only with a magnifying glass can the undulations caused by the vibrating
stylus be distinguished. This tube of wax is filed upon a metal barrel
like a sleeve, and the barrel, which forms part of a horizontal spindle,
is rotated by means of a silent electro-motor, controlled by a very
sensitive governor. A motion of translation is also given to the
barrel as it revolves, so that the marking stylus held over it describes
a spiral path upon its surface. In front of the wax two small metal
tympanums are supported, each carrying a fine needle point or stylus on
its under centre. One of these is the recording diaphragm, which prints
the sounds in the first place; the other is the reproducing diaphragm,
which emits the sounds recorded on the wax. They are used, one at a
time, as the machine is required, to take down or to render back a
phonographic message.

The recording tympanum, which is about the size of a crown-piece, is
fitted with a mouthpiece, and when it is desired to record a sentence
the spindle is started, and you speak into the mouthpiece. The tympanum
vibrates under your voice, and the stylus, partaking of its motion, digs
into the yielding surface of the wax which moves beneath, and leaves a
tiny furrow to mark its passage. This is the sonorous record which, on
being passed under the stylus of the reproducing tympanum, will cause it
to give out a faithful copy of the original speech. A flexible india-
rubber tube, branching into two ear-pieces, conveys the sound emitted by
the reproducing diaphragm to the ears. This trumpet is used for privacy
and loudness; but it may be replaced by a conical funnel inserted by its
small end over the diaphragm, which thereby utters its message aloud.
It is on this plan that Edison has now constructed a phonograph which
delivers its reproduction to a roomful of people. Keys and pedals are
provided with which to stop the apparatus either in recording or
receiving, and in the latter case to hark back and repeat a word or
sentence if required. This is a convenient arrangement in using the
phonograph for correspondence or dictation. Each instrument, as we
have seen, can be employed for receiving as well as recording; and as
all are made to one pattern, a phonogram coming from any one, in any art
of the world, can be reproduced in any other instrument. A little box
with double walls has been introduced for transmitting the phonograms by
post. A knife or cutter is attached to the instrument for the purpose of
paring off an old message, and preparing a fresh surface of the wax for
the reception of a new one. This can be done in advance while the new
record is being made, so that no time is lost in the operation. A small
voltaic battery, placed under the machine, serves to work the electric
motor, and has to be replenished from time to time. A process has also
been devised for making copies of the phonograms in metal by electro-
deposition, so as to produce permanent records. But even the wax
phonogram may be used over and over again, hundreds of times, without
diminishing the fidelity of the reproduction.

The entire phonograph is shown in our figure. [The figure is omitted
from this e-text] It consists of a box, B, containing the silent
electro-motor which drives the machine, and supporting the works for
printing and reproducing the sounds. Apart from the motive power, which
might, as in the graphophone, be supplied by foot, the apparatus is
purely mechanical, the parts acting with smoothness and precision.
These are, chiefly, the barrel or cylinder, C, on which the hollow wax
is placed; the spindle, S, which revolves the cylinder and wax; and the
two tympana, T, T', which receive the sounds and impress them on the
soft surface of the wax. A governor, G, regulates the movement of the
spindle; and there are other ingenious devices for starting and stopping
the apparatus. The tympanum T is that which is used for recording the
sounds, and M is a mouthpiece, which is fixed to it for speaking
purposes. The other tympanum, T', reproduces the sounds; and E E is a
branched ear-piece, conveying them to the two ears of the listener. The
separate wax tube, P, is a phonogram with the spiral trace of the sounds
already printed on its surface, and ready for posting.

The box below the table contains the voltaic battery which actuates the
electro-motor. A machine which aims at recording and reproducing actual
speech or music is, of course, capable of infinite refinement, and
Edison is still at work improving the instrument, but even now it is
substantially perfected.

Phonographs have arrived in London, and through the kindness of Mr.
Edison and his English representative, Colonel G. E. Gouraud, we have
had an opportunity of testing one. A number of phonograms, taken in
Edison's laboratory, were sent over with the instruments, and several of
them were caused to deliver in our hearing the sounds which were

'sealed in crystal silence there.'

The first was a piece which had been played on the piano, quick time,
and the fidelity and loudness with which it was delivered by the hearing
tube was fairly astonishing, especially when one considered the frail
and hair-like trace upon the wax which had excited it. There seemed to
be something magical in the effect, which issued, as it were, from the
machine itself. Then followed a cornet solo, concert piece of cornet,
violin, and piano, and a very beautiful duet of cornet and piano. The
tones and cadences were admirably rendered, and the ear could also
faintly distinguish the noises of the laboratory. Speaking was
represented by a phonogram containing a dialogue between Mr. Edison and
Colonel Gouraud which had been imprinted some three weeks before in
America. With this we could hear the inventor addressing his old
friend, and telling him to correspond entirely with the phonograph.
Colonel Gouraud answers that he will be delighted to do so, and be
spared the trouble of writing; while Edison rejoins that he also will
be glad to escape the pains of reading the gallant colonel's letters.
The sally is greeted with a laugh, which is also faithfully rendered.

One day a workman in Edison's laboratory caught up a crying child and
held it over the phonograph. Here is the phonogram it made, and here in
England we can listen to its wailing, for the phonograph reproduces
every kind of sound, high or low, whistling, coughing, sneezing, or
groaning. It gives the accent, the expression, and the modulation, so
that one has to be careful how one speaks, and probably its use will
help us to improve our utterance.

By speaking into the phonograph and reproducing the words, we are
enabled for the first time to hear ourselves speak as others hear us;
for the vibrations of the head are understood to mask the voice a little
to our own ears. Moreover, by altering the speed of the barrel the
voice can be altered, music can be executed in slow or quick time,
however it is played, inaudible notes can be raised or lowered, as the
case may be, to audibility. The phonograph will register notes as low
as ten vibrations a second, whereas it is well known the lowest note
audible to the human ear is sixteen vibrations a second. The instrument
is equally capable of service and entertainment. It can be used as a
stenograph, or shorthand-writer. A business man, for instance, can
dictate his letters or instructions into it, and they can be copied out
by his secretary. Callers can leave a verbal message in the phonograph
instead of a note. An editor or journalist can dictate articles, which
may be written out or composed by the printer, word by word, as they are
spoken by the reproducer in his ears.

Correspondence can be carried on by phonograms, distant friends and
lovers being able thus to hear each other's accents as though they were
together, a result more conducive to harmony and good feeling than
letter-writing. In matters of business and diplomacy the phonogram will
teach its users to be brief, accurate, and honest in their speech; for
the phonograph is a mechanical memory more faithful than the living
one. Its evidence may even be taken in a court of law in place of
documents, and it is conceivable that some important action might be
settled by the voice of this DEUS EX MACHINA. Will it therefore add a
new terror to modern life? Shall a visitor have to be careful what he
says in a neighbour's house, in case his words are stored up in some
concealed phonograph, just as his appearance may be registered by a
detective camera? In ordinary life--no; for the phonograph has its
limitations, like every other machine, and it is not sufficiently
sensitive to record a conversation unless it is spoken close at hand.
But there is here a chance for the sensational novelist to hang a tale

The 'interviewer' may make use of it to supply him with 'copy,' but this
remains to be seen. There are practical difficulties in the way which
need not be told over. Perhaps in railway trains, steamers, and other
unsteady vehicles, it will be-used for communications. The telephone
may yet be adapted to work in conjunction with it, so that a phonogram
can be telephoned, or a telephone message recorded in the phonograph.
Such a 'telephonograph' is, however, a thing of the future. Wills and
other private deeds may of course be executed by phonograph. Moreover,
the loud-speaking instrument which Edison is engaged upon will probably
be applied to advertising and communicating purposes. The hours of the
day, for example, can be called out by a clock, the starting of a train
announced, and the merits of a particular commodity descanted on. All
these uses are possible; but it is in a literary sense that the
phonograph is more interesting. Books can now be spoken by their
authors, or a good elocutionist, and published in phonograms, which will
appeal to the ear of the 'reader' instead of to his eye. 'On, four
cylinders 8 inches long, with a diameter of 5,' says Edison, 'I can put
the whole of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY.' To the invalid, especially, this use
would come as a boon; and if the instrument were a loud speaker, a
circle of listeners could be entertained. How interesting it would be
to have NICHOLAS NICKLEBY read to us in the voice of Dickens, or TAM O'
SHANTER in that of Burns! If the idea is developed, we may perhaps have
circulating libraries which issue phonograms, and there is already some
talk of a phonographic newspaper which will prattle politics and scandal
at the breakfast-table. Addresses, sermons, and political speeches may
be delivered by the phonograph; languages taught, and dialects
preserved; while the study of words cannot fail to benefit by its

Musicians will now be able to record their improvisations by a
phonograph placed near the instrument they are playing. There need in
fact be no more 'lost chords.' Lovers of music, like the inventor
himself, will be able to purchase songs and pieces, sung and played by
eminent performers, and reproduce them in their own homes. Music-
sellers will perhaps let them out, like books, and customers can choose
their piece in the shop by having it rehearsed to them.

In preserving for us the words of friends who have passed away, the
sound of voices which are stilled, the phonograph assumes its most
beautiful and sacred character. The Egyptians treasured in their homes
the mummies of their dead. We are able to cherish the very accents of
ours, and, as it were, defeat the course of time and break the silence
of the grave. The voices of illustrious persons, heroes and statesmen,
orators, actors, and singers, will go down to posterity and visit us in
our homes. A new pleasure will be added to life. How pleasant it would
be if we could listen to the cheery voice of Gordon, the playing of
Liszt, or the singing of Jenny Lind!

Doubtless the rendering of the phonograph will be still further improved
as time goes on ; but even now it is remarkable ; and the inventor must
be considered to have redeemed his promises with regard to it.
Notwithstanding his deafness, the development of the instrument has been
a labour of love to him; and those who knew his rare inventive skill
believed that he would some time achieve success. It is his favourite,
his most original, and novel work. For many triumphs of mind over
matter Edison has been called the 'Napoleon of Invention,' and the
aptness of the title is enhanced by his personal resemblance to the
great conqueror. But the phonograph is his victory of Austerlitz; and,
like the printing-press of Gutenberg, it will assuredly immortalise his

'The phonograph,' said Edison of his favourite, 'is my baby, and I
expect it to grow up a big fellow and support me in my old age.' Some
people are still in doubt whether it will prove more than a curious
plaything; but even now it seems to be coming into practical use in
America, if not in Europe.

After the publication of the phonograph, Edison, owing, it is stated, to
an erroneous description of the instrument by a reporter, received
letters from deaf people inquiring whether it would enable them to hear
well. This, coupled with the fact that he is deaf himself, turned his
thoughts to the invention of the 'megaphone,' a combination of one large
speaking and two ear-trumpets, intended for carrying on a conversation
beyond the ordinary range of the voice--in short, a mile or two. It is
said to render a whisper audible at a distance of 1000 yards; but its
very sensitiveness is a drawback, since it gathers up extraneous

To the same category belongs the 'aerophone,' which may be described as
a gigantic tympanum, vibrated by a piston working in a cylinder of
compressed air, which is regulated by the vibrations of the sound to be
magnified. It was designed to call out fog or other warnings in a loud
and penetrating tone, but it has not been successful.

The 'magnetic ore separator' is an application of magnetism to the
extraction of iron particles from powdered ores and unmagnetic matter.
The ground material is poured through a funnel or 'hopper,' and falls in
a shower between the poles of a powerful electro-magnet, which draws the
metal aside, thus removing it from the dress.

Among Edison's toys and minor inventions may be mentioned a 'voice
mill,' or wheel driven by the vibrations of the air set up in speaking.
It consists of a tympanum or drum, having a stylus attached as in the
phonograph. When the tympanum vibrates under the influence of the
voice, the stylus acts as a pawl and turns a ratchet-wheel. An
ingenious smith might apply it to the construction of a lock which would
operate at the command of 'Open, Sesame!' Another trifle perhaps worthy
of note is his ink, which rises on the paper and solidifies, so that a
blind person can read the writing by passing his fingers over the

Edison's next important work was the adaptation of the electric light
for domestic illumination. At the beginning of the century the Cornish
philosopher, Humphrey Davy, had discovered that the electric current
produced a brilliant arch or 'arc' of light when passed between two
charcoal points drawn a little apart, and that it heated a fine rod of
charcoal or a metal wire to incandescence--that is to say, a glowing
condition. A great variety of arc lamps were afterwards introduced; and
Mr. Staite, on or about the year 1844-5, invented an incandescent lamp
in which the current passed through a slender stick of carbon, enclosed
in a vacuum bulb of glass. Faraday discovered that electricity could be
generated by the relative motion of a magnet and a coil of wire, and
hence the dynamo-electric generator, or 'dynamo,' was ere long invented
and improved.

In 1878 the boulevards of Paris were lit by the arc lamps of Jablochkoff
during the season of the Exhibition, and the display excited a
widespread interest in the new mode of illumination. It was too
brilliant for domestic use, however, and, as the lamps were connected
one after another in the same circuit like pearls upon a string, the
breakage of one would interrupt the current and extinguish them all but
for special precautions. In short, the electric light was not yet

Edison, in common with others, turned his attention to the subject, and
took up the neglected incandescent lamp. He improved it by reducing the
rod of carbon to a mere filament of charcoal, having a comparatively
high resistance and resembling a wire in its elasticity, without being
so liable to fuse under the intense heat of the current. This he
moulded into a loop, and mounted inside a pear-shaped bulb of glass.
The bulb was then exhausted of its air to prevent the oxidation of the
carbon, and the whole hermetically sealed. When a sufficient current
was passed through the filament, it glowed with a dazzling lustre. It
was not too bright or powerful for a room; it produced little heat, and
absolutely no fumes. Moreover, it could be connected not in but across
the main circuit of the current, and hence, if one should break, the
others would continue glowing. Edison, in short, had 'subdivided' the
electric light.

In October, 1878, he telegraphed the news to London and Paris, where,
owing to his great reputation, it caused an immediate panic in the gas
market. As time passed, and the new illuminant was backward in
appearing, the shares recovered their old value. Edison was severely
blamed for causing the disturbance; but, nevertheless, his announcement
had been verified in all but the question of cost. The introduction of
a practical system of electric lighting employed his resources for
several years. Dynamos, types of lamps and conductors, electric meters,
safety fuses, and other appliances had to be invented. In 1882 he
returned to New York, to superintend the installation of his system in
that city.

His researches on the dynamo caused him to devise what he calls an
'harmonic engine.' It consists of a tuning-fork, kept in vibration by
two small electro-magnets, excited with three or four battery cells.
It is capable of working a small pump, but is little more than a
scientific curiosity. With the object of transforming heat direct from
the furnace into electricity, he also devised a 'pyro-electric
generator,' but it never passed beyond the experimental stage.

The same may be said for his pyro-electric motor. His dynamo-electric
motors and system of electric railways are, however, a more promising
invention. His method of telegraphing to and from a railway train in
motion, by induction through the air to a telegraph wire running along
the line, is very ingenious, and has been tried with a fair amount of

At present he is working at the 'Kinetograph,' a combination of the
phonograph and the instantaneous photograph as exhibited in the
zoetrope, by which he expects to produce an animated picture or
simulacrum of a scene in real life or the drama, with its appropriate
words and sounds.

Edison now resides at Llewellyn Park, Orange, a picturesque suburb of
New York. His laboratory there is a glorified edition of Menlo Park,
and realises the inventor's dream. The main building is of brick, in
three stories; but there are several annexes. Each workshop and testing
room is devoted to a particular purpose. The machine shops and dynamo
rooms are equipped with the best engines and tools, the laboratories
with the finest instruments that money can procure. There are drawing,
photographic, and photometric chambers, physical, chemical, and
metallurgical laboratories. There is a fine lecture-hall, and a
splendid library and reading-room. He employs several hundred workmen
and assistants, all chosen for their intelligence and skill. In this
retreat Edison is surrounded with everything that his heart desires. In
the words of a reporter, the place is equally capable of turning out a
'chronometer or a Cunard steamer.' It is probably the finest laboratory
in the world.

In 1889, Edison, accompanied by his second wife, paid a holiday visit to
Europe and the Paris Exhibition. He was received everywhere with the
greatest enthusiasm, and the King of Italy created him a Grand Officer
of the Crown of Italy, with the title of Count. But the phonograph
speaks more for his genius than the voice of the multitude, the electric
light is a better illustration of his energy than the ribbon of an
order, and the finest monument to his pluck, sagacity, and perseverance
is the magnificent laboratory which has been built through his own
efforts at Llewellyn Park. [One of his characteristic sayings may be
quoted here: 'Genius is an exhaustless capacity for work in detail,
which, combined with grit and gumption and love of right, ensures to
every man success and happiness in this world and the next.']



There are some leading electricians who enjoy a reputation based partly
on their own efforts and partly on those of their paid assistants.
Edison, for example, has a large following, who not only work out his
ideas, but suggest, improve, and invent of themselves. The master in
such a case is able to avail himself of their abilities and magnify his
own genius, so to speak. He is not one mind, but the chief of many
minds, and absorbs into himself the glory and the work of a hundred
willing subjects.

Professor Hughes is not one of these. His fame is entirely self-earned.
All that he has accomplished, and he has done great things, has been the
labour of his own hand and brain. He is an artist in invention; working
out his own conceptions in silence and retirement, with the artist's
love and self-absorption. This is but saying that he is a true
inventor; for a mere manufacturer of inventions, who employs others to
assist him in the work, is not an inventor in the old and truest sense.

Genius, they say, makes its own tools, and the adage is strikingly
verified in the case of Professor Hughes, who actually discovered the
microphone in his own drawing-room, and constructed it of toy boxes and
sealing wax. He required neither lathe, laboratory, nor assistant to
give the world this remarkable and priceless instrument.

Having first become known to fame in America, Professor Hughes is
usually claimed by the Americans as a countryman, and through some
error, the very date and place of his birth there are often given in
American publications; but we have the best authority for the accuracy
of the following facts, namely that of the inventor himself.

David Edwin Hughes was born in London in 1831. His parents came from
Bala, at the foot of Snowdon, in North Wales, and in 1838, when David
was seven years old, his father, taking with him his family, emigrated
to the United States, and became a planter in Virginia. The elder Mr.
Hughes and his children seem to have inherited the Welsh musical gift,
for they were all accomplished musicians. While a mere child, David
could improvise tunes in a remarkable manner, and when he grew up this
talent attracted the notice of Herr Hast, an eminent German pianist in
America, who procured for him the professorship of music in the College
of Bardstown, Kentucky. Mr. Hughes entered upon his academical career
at Bardstown in 1850, when he was nineteen years of age. Although very
fond of music and endowered by Nature with exceptional powers for its
cultivation, Professor Hughes had, in addition, an inborn liking and
fitness for physical science and mechanical invention. This duality of
taste and genius may seem at first sight strange; but experience shows
that there are many men of science and inventors who are also votaries
of music and art. The source of this apparent anomaly is to be found in
the imagination, which is the fountain-head of all kinds of creation.

Professor Hughes now taught music by day for his livelihood, and studied
science at night for his recreation, thus reversing the usual order of
things. The college authorities, knowing his proficiency in the
subject, also offered him the Chair of Natural Philosophy, which became
vacant; and he united the two seemingly incongruous professorships of
music and physics in himself. He had long cherished the idea of
inventing a new telegraph, and especially one which should print the
message in Roman characters as it is received. So it happened that one
evening while he was under the excitement of a musical improvisation, a
solution of the problem flashed into his ken. His music and his science
had met at this nodal point.

All his spare time was thenceforth devoted to the development of his
design and the construction of a practical type-printer. As the work
grew on his hands, the pale young student, beardless but careworn,
became more and more engrossed with it, until his nights were almost
entirely given to experiment. He begrudged the time which had to be
spent in teaching his classes and the fatigue was telling upon his
health, so in 1853 he removed to Bowlingreen, in Warren Co., Kentucky,
where he acquired more freedom by taking pupils.

The main principle of his type-printer was the printing of each letter
by a single current; the Morse instrument, then the principal receiver
in America, required, on the other hand, an average of three currents
for each signal. In order to carry out this principle it was necessary
that the sending and receiving apparatus should keep in strict time
with each other, or be synchronous in action; and to effect this was the
prime difficulty which Professor Hughes had to overcome in his work. In
estimating the Hughes' type-printer as an invention we must not forget
the state of science at that early period. He had to devise his own
governors for the synchronous mechanism, and here his knowledge of
acoustics helped him. Centrifugal governors and pendulums would not do,
and he tried vibrators, such as piano-strings and tuning-forks. He at
last found what he wanted in two darning needles, borrowed from an old
lady in the house where he lived. These steel rods fixed at one end
vibrated with equal periods, and could be utilised in such a way that
the printing wheel could be corrected into absolute synchronism by each
signal current.

In 1854, Professor Hughes went to Louisville to superintend the making
of his first instrument; but it was unprotected by a patent in the
United States until 1855. In that form straight vibrators were used as
governors, and a separate train of wheel-work was employed in
correcting: but in later forms the spiral governor was adopted, and the
printing and correcting is now done by the same action. In 1855, the
invention may be said to have become fit for employment, and no sooner
was this the case, than Professor Hughes received a telegram from the
editors of the New York Associated Press, summoning him to that city.
The American Telegraph Company, then a leading one, was in possession of
the Morse instrument, and levied rates for transmission of news which
the editors found oppressive. They took up the Hughes' instrument in
opposition to the Morse, and introduced it on the lines of several
companies. After a time, however, the separate companies amalgamated
into one large corporation, the Western Union Telegraph Company of to-
day. With the Morse, Hughes, and other apparatus in its power, the
editors were again left in the lurch.

In 1857, Professor Hughes leaving his instrument in the hands of the
Western Union Telegraph Company, came to England to effect its
introduction here. He endeavoured to get the old Electric Telegraph
Company to adopt it, but after two years of indecision on their part, he
went over to France in 1860, where he met with a more encouraging
reception. The French Government Telegraph Administration became at
once interested in the new receiver, and a commission of eminent
electricians, consisting of Du Moncel, Blavier, Froment, Gaugain, and
other practical and theoretical specialists, was appointed to decide on
its merits. The first trial of the type-printer took place on the Paris
to Lyons circuit, and there is a little anecdote connected with it which
is worthy of being told. The instrument was started, and for a while
worked as well as could be desired; but suddenly it came to a stop, and
to the utter discomfiture of the inventor he could neither find out what
was wrong nor get the printer to go again. In the midst of his
confusion, it seemed like satire to him to hear the commissioners say,
as they smiled all round, and bowed themselves gracefully off, 'TRES-
explained next morning, when Professor Hughes learned that the
transmitting clerk at Lyons had been purposely instructed to earth the
line at the time in question, to test whether there was no deception in
the trial, a proceeding which would have seemed strange, had not the
occurrence of a sham trial some months previous rendered it a prudent
course. The result of this trial was that the French Government agreed
to give the printer a year of practical work on the French lines, and if
found satisfactory, it was to be finally adopted. Daily reports were
furnished of its behaviour during that time, and at the expiration of
the term it was adopted, and Professor Hughes was constituted by
Napoleon III. a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.

The patronage of France paved the way of the type-printer into almost
all other European countries; and the French agreement as to its use
became the model of those made by the other nations. On settling with
France in 1862, Professor Hughes went to Italy. Here a commission was
likewise appointed, and a period of probation--only six months--was
settled, before the instrument was taken over. From Italy, Professor
Hughes received the Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazare. In 1863, the
United Kingdom Telegraph Co., England, introduced the type-printer in
their system. In 1865, Professor Hughes proceeded to Russia, and in
that country his invention was adopted after six months' trial on the
St. Petersburg to Moscow circuit. At St. Petersburg he had the honour
of being a guest of the Emperor in the summer palace, Czarskoizelo, the
Versailles of Russia, where he was requested to explain his invention,
and also to give a lecture on electricity to the Czar and his court. He
was there created a Commander of the Order of St. Anne.

In 1865, Professor Hughes also went to Berlin, and introduced his
apparatus on the Prussian lines. In 1867, he went on a similar mission
to Austria, where he received the Order of the Iron Crown; and to
Turkey, where the reigning Sultan bestowed on him the Grand Cross of the
Medjidie. In this year, too he was awarded at the Paris Exhibition, a
grand HORS LIGNE gold medal, one out of ten supreme honours designed to
mark the very highest achievements. On the same occasion another of
these special medals was bestowed on Cyrus Field and the Anglo-American
Telegraph Company. In 1868, he introduced it into Holland; and in
1869, into Bavaria and Wurtemburg, where he obtained the Noble Order of
St. Michael. In 1870, he also installed it in Switzerland and Belgium.

Coming back to England, the Submarine Telegraph Company adopted the
type-printer in 1872, when they had only two instruments at work. In
1878 they had twenty of them in constant use, of which number nine were
working direct between London and Paris, one between London and Berlin,
one between London and Cologne, one between London and Antwerp, and one
between London and Brussels. All the continental news for the TIMES and
the DAILY TELEGRAPH is received by the Hughes' type-printer, and is set
in type by a type-setting machine as it arrives. Further, by the
International Telegraph Congress it was settled that for all
international telegrams only the Hughes' instrument and the Morse were
to be employed. Since the Post Office acquired the cables to the
Continent in 1889, a room in St. Martin's-le-Grand has been provided for
the printers working to Paris, Berlin, and Rome.

In 1875, Professor Hughes introduced the type-printer into Spain, where
he was made a Commander of the Royal and Distinguished Order of Carlos
III. In every country to which it was taken, the merits of the
instrument were recognised, and Professor Hughes has none but pleasant
souvenirs of his visits abroad.

During all these years the inventor was not idle. He was constantly
improving his invention; and in addition to that, he had to act as an
instructor where-ever he went, and give courses of lectures explaining
the principles and practice of his apparatus to the various employees
into whose hands it was to be consigned.

The years 1876-8 will be distinguished in the history of our time for a
triad of great inventions which, so to speak, were hanging together. We
have already seen how the telephone and phonograph have originated; and
to these two marvellous contrivances we have now to add a third, the
microphone, which is even more marvellous, because, although in form it
is the simplest of them all, in its action it is still a mystery. The
telephone enables us to speak to distances far beyond the reach of eye
or ear, 'to waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole; 'the phonograph enables
us to seal the living speech on brazen tablets, and store it up for any
length of time; while it is the peculiar function of the microphone to
let us hear those minute sounds which are below the range of our
unassisted powers of hearing. By these three instruments we have thus
received a remarkable extension of the capacity of the human ear, and a
growth of dominion over the sounds of Nature. We have now a command
over sound such as we have over light. For the telephone is to the ear
what the telescope is to the eye, the phonograph is for sound what the
photograph is for light, and the microphone finds its analogue in the
microscope. As the microscope reveals to our wondering sight the rich
meshes of creation, so the microphone can interpret to our ears the jarr
of molecular vibrations for ever going on around us, perchance the clash
of atoms as they shape themselves into crystals, the murmurous ripple of
the sap in trees, which Humboldt fancied to make a continuous music in
the ears of the tiniest insects, the fall of pollen dust on flowers and
grasses, the stealthy creeping of a spider upon his silken web, and even
the piping of a pair of love-sick butterflies, or the trumpeting of a
bellicose gnat, like the 'horns of elf-land faintly blowing.'

The success of the Hughes type-printer may be said to have covered its
author with titles and scientific honours, and placed him above the
necessity of regular employment. He left America, and travelled from
place to place. For many years past, however, he has resided privately
in London, an eminent example of that modesty and simplicity which is
generally said to accompany true genius.

Mechanical invention is influenced to a very high degree by external
circumstances. It may sound sensational, but it is nevertheless true,
that we owe the microphone to an attack of bronchitis. During the thick
foggy weather of November 1877, Professor Hughes was confined to his
home by a severe cold, and in order to divert his thoughts he began to
amuse himself with a speaking telephone. Then it occurred to him that
there might be some means found of making the wire of the telephone
circuit speak of itself without the need of telephones at all, or at
least without the need of one telephone, namely, that used in
transmitting the sounds. The distinguished physicist Sir William
Thomson, had lately discovered the peculiar fact that when a current of
electricity is passed through a wire, the current augments when the wire
is extended, and diminishes when the wire is compressed, because in the
former case the resistance of the material of the wire to the passage of
the current is lessened, and in the latter case it becomes greater.

Now it occurred to Professor Hughes that, if this were so, it might be
possible to cause the air-vibrations of sound to so act upon a wire
conveying a current as to stretch and contract it in sympathy with
themselves, so that the sound-waves would create corresponding electric
waves in the current, and these electric waves, passed through a
telephone connected to the wire, would cause the telephone to give forth
the original sounds. He first set about trying the effect of vibrating
a wire in which a current flowed, to see if the stretching and
compressing thereby produced would affect the current so as to cause
sounds in a telephone connected up in circuit with the wire--but without
effect. He could hear no sound whatever in the telephone. Then he
stretched the wire till it broke altogether, and as the metal began to
rupture he heard a distinct grating in the telephone, followed by a
sharp 'click,' when the wire sundered, which indicated a 'rush' of
electricity through the telephone. This pointed out to him that the
wire might be sensitive to sound when in a state of fracture. Acting on
the hint, he placed the two broken ends of the wire together again, and
kept them so by the application of a definite pressure. To his joy he
found that he had discovered what he had been in search of. The
imperfect contact between the broken ends of the wire proved itself to
be a means of transmitting sounds, and in addition it was found to
possess a faculty which he had not anticipated--it proved to be
sensitive to very minute sounds, and was in fact a rude microphone.
Continuing his researches, he soon found that he had discovered a prin-
ciple of wide application, and that it was not necessary to confine his
experiments to wires, since any substance which conducted an electric
current would answer the purpose. All that was necessary was that the
materials employed should be in contact with each other under a slight
but definite pressure, and, for the continuance of the effects, that
the materials should not oxidise in air so as to foul the contact. For
different materials a different degree of pressure gives the best
results, and for different sounds to be transmitted a different degree
of pressure is required. Any loose, crazy unstable structure, of
conducting bodies, inserted in a telephone circuit, will act as a
microphone. Such, for example, as a glass tube filled with lead-shot or
black oxide of iron, or 'white bronze' powder under pressure; a metal
watch-chain piled in a heap. Surfaces of platinum, gold, or even iron,
pressed lightly together give excellent results. Three French nails,
two parallel beneath and one laid across them, or better still a log-
hut of French nails, make a perfect transmitter of audible sounds, and a
good microphone. Because of its cheapness, its conducting power, and
its non-oxidisability, carbon is the most select material. A piece of
charcoal no bigger than a pin's head is quite sufficient to produce
articulate speech. Gas-carbon operates admirably, but the best carbon
is that known as willow-charcoal, used by artists in sketching, and when
this is impregnated with minute globules of mercury by heating it white-
hot and quenching it in liquid mercury, it is in a highly sensitive
microphonic condition. The same kind of charcoal permeated by platinum,
tin, zinc, or other unoxidisable metal is also very suitable; and it is
a significant fact that the most resonant woods, such as pine, poplar,
and willow, yield the charcoals best adapted for the microphone.
Professor Hughes' experimental apparatus is of an amusingly simple
description. He has no laboratory at home, and all his experiments were
made in the drawing-room. His first microphones were formed of bits of
carbon and scraps of metal, mounted on slips of match-boxes by means of
sealing-wax; and the resonance pipes on which they were placed to
reinforce the effect of minute sounds, were nothing more than children's
toy money boxes, price one halfpenny, having one of the ends knocked
out. With such childish and worthless materials he has conquered Nature
in her strongholds, and shown how great discoveries can be made. The
microphone is a striking illustration of the truth that in science any
phenomenon whatever may be rendered useful. The trouble of one
generation of scientists may be turned to the honour and service of the
next. Electricians have long had sore reasons for regarding a 'bad
contact' as an unmitigated nuisance, the instrument of the evil one,
with no conceivable good in it, and no conceivable purpose except to
annoy and tempt them into wickedness and an expression of hearty but
ignominious emotion. Professor Hughes, however, has with a wizard's
power transformed this electrician's bane into a professional glory and
a public boon. Verily there is a soul of virtue in things evil.

The commonest and at the same time one of the most sensitive forms of
the instrument is called the 'pencil microphone,' from the pencil or
crayon of carbon which forms the principal part of it. This pencil may
be of mercurialised charcoal, but the ordinary gas-carbon, which
incrusts the interior of the retorts in gas-works, is usually employed.
The crayon is supported in an upright position by two little brackets of
carbon, hollowed out so as to receive the pointed ends in shallow cups.
The weight of the crayon suffices to give the required pressure on the
contacts, both upper and lower, for the upper end of the Pencil should
lean against the inner wall of the cup in the upper bracket. The
brackets are fixed to an upright board of light, dry, resonant pine-
wood, let into a solid base of the same timber. The baseboard is with
advantage borne by four rounded india-rubber feet, which insulate it
from the table on which it may be placed. To connect the microphone up
for use, a small voltaic battery, say three cells (though a single cell
will give surprising results), and a Bell speaking telephone are
necessary. A wire is led from one of the carbon brackets to one pole of
the battery, and another wire is led from the other bracket to one
terminal screw of the telephone, and the circuit is completed by a wire
from the other terminal of the telephone to the other pole of the
battery. If now the slightest mechanical jar be given to the wooden
frame of the microphone, to the table, or even to the walls of the room
in which the experiment takes place, a corresponding noise will be heard
in the microphone. By this delicate arrangement we can play the
eavesdropper on those insensible vibrations in the midst of which we
exist. If a feather or a camel-hair pencil be stroked along the base-
board, we hear a harsh grating sound; if a pin be laid upon it, we hear
a blow like a blacksmith's hammer; and, more astonishing than all, if a
fly walk across it we hear it tramping like a charger, and even its
peculiar cry, which has been likened, with some allowance for
imagination, to the snorting of an elephant. Moreover it should not be
forgotten that the wires connecting up the telephone may be lengthened
to any desired extent, so that, in the words of Professor Hughes, 'the
beating of a pulse, the tick of a watch, the tramp of a fly can then be
heard at least a hundred miles from the source of sound.' If we whisper
or speak distinctly in a monotone to the pencil, our words will be heard
in the telephone; but with this defect, that the TIMBRE or quality is,
in this particular form of the instrument, apt to be lost, making it
difficult to recognise the speaker's voice. But although a single
pencil microphone will under favourable circumstances transmit these
varied sounds, the best effect for each kind of sound is obtained by one
specially adjusted. There is one pressure best adapted for minute
sounds, another for speech, and a third for louder sounds. A simple
spring arrangement for adjusting the pressure of the contacts is
therefore an advantage, and it can easily be applied to a microphone
formed of a small rod of carbon pivoted at its middle, with one end
resting on a block or anvil of carbon underneath. The contact between
the rod and the block in this 'hammer-and-anvil' form is, of course, the
portion which is sensitive to sound.

The microphone is a discovery as well as an invention, and the true
explanation of its action is as yet merely an hypothesis. It is
supposed that the vibrations put the carbons in a tremor and cause them
to approach more or less nearly, thus closing or opening the breach
between them, which is, as it were, the floodgate of the current.

The applications of the microphone were soon of great importance. Dr.
B. W. Richardson succeeded in fitting it for auscultation of the heart
and lungs; while Sir Henry Thompson has effectively used it in those
surgical operations, such as probing wounds for bullets or fragments of
bone, in which the surgeon has hitherto relied entirely on his delicacy
of touch for detecting the jar of the probe on the foreign body. There
can be no doubt that in the science of physiology, in the art of
surgery, and in many other walks of life, the microphone has proved a
valuable aid.

Professor Hughes communicated his results to the Royal Society in the
early part of 1878, and generously gave the microphone to the world.
For his own sake it would perhaps have been better had he patented and
thus protected it, for Mr. Edison, recognising it as a rival to his
carbon-transmitter, then a valuable property, claimed it as an
infringement of his patents and charged him with plagiarism. A spirited
controversy arose, and several bitter lawsuits were the consequence, in
none of which, however, Professor Hughes took part, as they were only
commercial trials. It was clearly shown that Clerac, and not Edison,
had been the first to utilise the variable resistance of powdered
carbon or plumbage under pressure, a property on which the Edison
transmitter was founded, and that Hughes had discovered a much wider
principle, which embraced not only the so-called 'semi-conducting'
bodies, such as carbon; but even the best conductors, such as gold,
silver, and other metals. This principle was not a mere variation of
electrical conductivity in a mass of material brought about by
compression, but a mysterious variation in some unknown way of the
strength of an electric current in traversing a loose joint or contact
between two conductors. This discovery of Hughes really shed a light on
the behaviour of Edison's own transmitter, whose action he had until
then misunderstood. It was now seen that the particles of carbon dust
in contact which formed the button were a congeries of minute micro-
phones. Again it was proved that the diaphragm or tympanum to receive
the impression of the sound and convey it to the carbon button, on
which Edison had laid considerable stress, was non-essential; for the
microphone, pure and simple, was operated by the direct impact of the
sonorous waves, and required no tympanum. Moreover, the microphone, as
its name implies, could magnify a feeble sound, and render audible the
vibrations which would otherwise escape the ear. The discovery of these
remarkable and subtle properties of a delicate contact had indeed
confronted Edison; he had held them in his grasp, they had stared him in
the face, but not-withstanding all his matchless ingenuity and acumen,
he, blinded perhaps by a false hypothesis, entirely failed to discern
them. The significant proof of it lies in the fact that after the
researches of Professor Hughes were published the carbon transmitter was
promptly modified, and finally abandoned for practical work as a
telephone, in favour of a variety of new transmitters, such as the
Blake, now employed in the United Kingdom, in all of which the essential
part is a microphone of hard carbon and metal. The button of soot has
vanished into the limbo of superseded inventions.

Science appears to show that every physical process is reciprocal, and
may be reversed. With this principle in our minds, we need not be
surprised that the microphone should not only act as a TRANSMITTER of
sounds, but that it should also act as a RECEIVER. Mr. James Blyth, of
Edinburgh, was the first to announce that he had heard sounds and even
speech given out by a microphone itself when substituted for the
telephone. His transmitting microphone and his receiving one were
simply jelly-cans filled with cinders from the grate. It then
transpired that Professor Hughes had previously obtained the same
remarkable effects from his ordinary 'pencil' microphones. The sounds
were extremely feeble, however, but the transmitting microphones proved
the best articulating ones. Professor Hughes at length constructed an
adjustable hammer-and-anvil microphone of gas-carbon, fixed to the top
of a resonating drum, which articulated fairly well, although not so
perfectly as a Bell telephone. Perhaps a means of improving both the
volume and distinctness of the articulation will yet be forthcoming and
we may be able to speak solely by the microphone, if it is found
desirable. The marvellous fact that a little piece of charcoal can, as
it were, both listen and speak, that a person may talk to it so that his
friend can hear him at a similar piece a hundred miles away, is a
miracle of nineteenth century science which far transcends the oracles
of antiquity.

The articulating telephone was the forerunner of the phonograph and
microphone, and led to their discovery. They in turn will doubtless
lead to other new inventions, which it is now impossible to foresee. We
ask in vain for an answer to the question which is upon the lips of
every one-What next? The microphone has proved itself highly useful in
strengthening the sounds given out by the telephone, and it is probable
that we shall soon see those three inventions working unitedly; for the
microphone might make the telephone sounds so powerful as to enable them
to be printed by phonograph as they are received, and thus a durable
record of telephonic messages would be obtained. We can now transmit
sound by wire, but it may yet be possible to transmit light, and see by
telegraph. We are apparently on the eve of other wonderful inventions,
and there are symptoms that before many years a great fundamental
discovery will be made, which will elucidate the connection of all the
physical forces, and will illumine the very frame-work of Nature.

In 1879, Professor Hughes endowed the scientific world with another
beautiful apparatus, his 'induction balance.' Briefly described, it is
an arrangement of coils whereby the currents inducted by a primary
circuit in the secondary are opposed to each other until they balance,
so that a telephone connected in the secondary circuit is quite silent.
Any disturbance of this delicate balance, however, say by the movement
of a coil or a metallic body in the neighbourhood of the apparatus, will
be at once reported by the induction currents in the telephone. Being
sensitive to the presence of minute masses of metal, the apparatus was
applied by Professor Graham Bell to indicate the whereabouts of the
missing bullet in the frame of President Garfield, as already mentioned,
and also by Captain McEvoy to detect the position of submerged
torpedoes or lost anchors. Professor Roberts-Austen, the Chemist to
the Mint, has also employed it with success in analysing the purity and
temper of coins; for, strange to say, the induction is affected as well
by the molecular quality as the quantity of the disturbing metal.
Professor Hughes himself has modified it for the purpose of sonometry,
and the measurement of the hearing powers.

To the same year, 1879, belong his laborious investigations on current
induction, and some ingenious plans for eliminating its effects on
telegraph and telephone circuits.

Soon after his discovery of the microphone he was invited to become a
Fellow of the Royal Society, and a few years later, in 1885 he received
the Royal Medal of the Society for his experiments, and especially
those of the microphone. In 1881 he represented the United Kingdom as a
Commissioner at the Paris International Exhibition of Electricity, and
was elected President of one of the sections of the International
Congress of Electricians. In 1886 he filled the office of President of
the Society of Telegraph Engineers and of Electricians.

The Hughes type-printer was a great mechanical invention, one of the
greatest in telegraphic science, for every organ of it was new, and had
to be fashioned out of chaos; an invention which stamped its author's
name indelibly into the history of telegraphy, and procured for him a
special fame; while the microphone is a discovery which places it on
the roll of investigators, and at the same time brings it to the
knowledge of the people. Two such achievements might well satisfy any
scientific ambition. Professor Hughes has enjoyed a most successful
career. Probably no inventor ever before received so many honours, or
bore them with greater modesty.




CHARLES FERDINAND GAUSS was born at Braunschweig on April 30, 1777. His
father, George Dietrich, was a mason, who employed himself otherwise in
the hard winter months, and finally became cashier to a TODTENCASSE, or
burial fund. His mother Dorothy was the daughter of Christian Benze of
the village of Velpke, near Braunschweig, and a woman of talent,
industry, and wit, which her son appears to have inherited. The father
died in 1808 after his son had become distinguished. The mother lived
to the age of ninety-seven, but became totally blind. She preserved her
low Saxon dialect, her blue linen dress and simple country manners, to
the last, while living beside her son at the Observatory of Gottingen.
Frederic, her younger brother, was a damask weaver, but a man with a
natural turn for mathematics and mechanics.

When Gauss was a boy, his parents lived in a small house in the
Wendengrahen, on a canal which joined the Ocker, a stream flowing
through Braunschweig. The canal is now covered, and is the site of the
Wilhelmstrasse, but a tablet marks the house. When a child, Gauss used
to play on the bank of the canal, and falling in one day he was nearly
drowned. He learned to read by asking the letters from his friends, and
also by studying an old calendar which hung on a wall of his father's
house, and when four years old he knew all the numbers on it, in spite
of a shortness of sight which afflicted him to the end. On Saturday
nights his father paid his workmen their wages, and once the boy, who
had been listening to his calculations, jumped up and told him that he
was wrong. Revision showed that his son was right.

At the age of seven, Gauss went to the Catherine Parish School at
Braunschweig, and remained at it for several years. The master's name
was Buttner, and from a raised seat in the middle of the room, he kept
order by means of a whip suspended at his side. A bigger boy, Bartels
by name, used to cut quill pens, and assist the smaller boys in their
lessons. He became a friend of Gauss, and would procure mathematical
books, which they read together. Bartels subsequently rose to be a
professor in the University of Dorpat, where he died. At the parish
school the boys of fourteen to fifteen years were being examined in
arithmetic one day, when Gauss stepped forward and, to the astonishment
of Buttner, requested to be examined at the same time. Buttner,
thinking to punish him for his audacity, put a 'poser' to him, and
awaited the result. Gauss solved the problem on his slate, and laid it
face downward on the table, crying 'Here it is,' according to the
custom. At the end of an hour, during which the master paced up and
down with an air of dignity, the slates were turned over, and the answer
of Gauss was found to be correct while many of the rest were erroneous.
Buttner praised him, and ordered a special book on arithmetic for him
all the way from Hamburg.

>From the parish school Gauss went to the Catherine Gymnasium, although
his father doubted whether he could afford the money. Bartels had gone
there before him, and they read the higher mathematics. Gauss also
devoted much of his time to acquiring the ancient and modern languages.
>From there he passed to the Carolinean College in the spring of 1792.
Shortly before this the Duke Charles William Ferdinand of Braunschweig
among others had noticed his talents, and promised to further his

In 1793 he published his first papers; and in the autumn of 1795 he
entered the University of Gottingen. At this time he was hesitating
between the pursuit of philology or mathematics; but his studies became
more and more of the latter order. He discovered the division of the
circle, a problem published in his DISQUISITIONES ARITHMETICAE, and
henceforth elected for mathematics. The method of least squares, was
also discovered during his first term. On arriving home the duke
received him in the friendliest manner, and he was promoted to
Helmstedt, where with the assistance of his patron he published his

On January 1, 1801, Piazzi, the astronomer of Palermo, discovered a
small planet, which he named CERES FERDINANDIA, and communicated the
news by post to Bode of Berlin, and Oriani of Milan. The letter was
seventy-two days in going, and the planet by that time was lost in the
glory of the sun, By a method of his own, published in his THEORIA MOTUS
CORPORUM COELESTIUM, Gauss calculated the orbit of this planet, and
showed that it moved between Mars and Jupiter. The planet, after
eluding the search of several astronomers, was ultimately found again by
Zach on December 7, 1801, and on January 1, 1802. The ellipse of Gauss
was found to coincide with its orbit.

This feat drew the attention of the Hanoverian Government, and of Dr.
Olbers, the astronomer, to the young mathematician. But some time
elapsed before he was fitted with a suitable appointment. The battle of
Austerlitz had brought the country into danger, and the Duke of
Braunschweig was entrusted with a mission from Berlin to the Court of
St. Petersburg. The fame of Gauss had travelled there, but the duke
resisted all attempts to bring or entice him to the university of that
place. On his return home, however, he raised the salary of Gauss.

At the beginning of October 1806, the armies of Napoleon were moving
towards the Saale, and ere the middle of the month the battles of
Auerstadt and Jena were fought and lost. Duke Charles Ferdinand was
mortally wounded, and taken back to Braunschweig. A deputation waited
on the offended Emperor at Halle, and begged him to allow the aged duke
to die in his own house. They were brutally denied by the Emperor, and
returned to Braunschweig to try and save the unhappy duke from
imprisonment. One evening in the late autumn, Gauss, who lived in the
Steinweg (or Causeway), saw an invalid carriage drive slowly out of the
castle garden towards the Wendenthor. It contained the wounded duke on
his way to Altona, where he died on November 10, 1806, in a small house
at Ottensen, 'You will take care,' wrote Zach to Gauss, in 1803, 'that
his great name shall also be written on the firmament.'

For a year and a half after the death of the duke Gauss continued in
Braunschweig, but his small allowance, and the absence of scientific
company made a change desirable. Through Olbers and Heeren he received
a call to the directorate of Gottingen University in 1807, and at once
accepted it. He took a house near the chemical laboratory, to which he
brought his wife and family. The building of the observatory, delayed
for want of funds, was finished in 1816, and a year or two later it was
fully equipped with instruments.

In 1819, Gauss measured a degree of latitude between Gottingen and
Altona. In geodesy he invented the heliotrope, by which the sunlight
reflected from a mirror is used as a "sight" for the theodolite at a
great distance. Through Professor William Weber he was introduced to
the science of electro-magnetism, and they devised an experimental
telegraph, chiefly for sending time signals, between the Observatory and
the Physical Cabinet of the University. The mirror receiving instrument
employed was the heavy prototype of the delicate reflecting galvanometer
of Sir William Thomson. In 1834 messages were transmitted through the
line in presence of H.R.H. the Duke of Cambridge; but it was hardly
fitted for general use. In 1883 (?) he published an absolute system of
magnetic measurements.

On July 16, 1849, the jubilee of Gauss was celebrated at the University;
the famous Jacobi, Miller of Cambridge, and others, taking part in it.
After this he completed several works already begun, read a great deal
of German and foreign literature, and visited the Museum daily between
eleven and one o'clock.

In the winters of 1854-5 Gauss complained of his declining health, and
on the morning of February 23, 1855, about five minutes past one
o'clock, he breathed his last. He was laid on a bed of laurels, and
buried by his friends. A granite pillar marks his resting-place at


WILLIAM EDWARD WEBER was born on October 24, 1804, at Wittenberg, where
his father, Michael Weber, was professor of theology. William was the
second of three brothers, all of whom were distinguished by an aptitude
for the study of science. After the dissolution of the University of
Wittenberg his father was transferred to Halle in 1815. William had
received his first lessons from his father, but was now sent to the
Orphan Asylum and Grammar School at Halle. After that he entered the
University, and devoted himself to natural philosophy. He distinguished
himself so much in his classes, and by original work, that after taking
his degree of Doctor and becoming a Privat-Docent he was appointed
Professor Extraordinary of natural philosophy at Halle.

In 1831, on the recommendation of Gauss, he was called to Gottingen as
professor of physics, although but twenty-seven years of age. His
lectures were interesting, instructive, and suggestive. Weber thought
that, in order to thoroughly understand physics and apply it to daily
life, mere lectures, though illustrated by experiments, were
insufficient, and he encouraged his students to experiment themselves,
free of charge, in the college laboratory. As a student of twenty years
he, with his brother, Ernest Henry Weber, Professor of Anatomy at
Leipsic, had written a book on the 'Wave Theory and Fluidity,' which
brought its authors a considerable reputation. Acoustics was a
favourite science of his, and he published numerous papers upon it in
and the musical journal CAECILIA. The 'mechanism of walking in mankind'
was another study, undertaken in conjunction with his younger brother,
Edward Weber. These important investigations were published between the
years 1825 and 1838.

Displaced by the Hanoverian Government for his liberal opinions in
politics Weber travelled for a time, visiting England, among other
countries, and became professor of physics in Leipsic from 1843 to 1849,
when he was reinstalled at Gottingen. One of his most important works
was the ATLAS DES ERDMAGNETISMUS, a series of magnetic maps, and it was
chiefly through his efforts that magnetic observatories were instituted.
He studied magnetism with Gauss, and in 1864 published his
'Electrodynamic Proportional Measures' containing a system of absolute
measurements for electric currents, which forms the basis of those in
use. Weber died at Gottingen on June 23, 1891.


WILLIAM Fothergill Cooke was born near Ealing on May 4, 1806, and was a
son of Dr. William Cooke, a doctor of medicine, and professor of anatomy
at the University of Durham. The boy was educated at a school in
Durham, and at the University of Edinburgh. In 1826 he joined the East
India Army, and held several staff appointments. While in the Madras
Native Infantry, he returned home on furlough, owing to ill-health, and
afterwards relinquished this connection. In 1833-4 he studied anatomy
and physiology in Paris, acquiring great skill at modelling dissections
in coloured wax.

In the summer of 1835, while touring in Switzerland with his parents, he
visited Heidelberg, and was induced by Professor Tiedeman, director of
the Anatomical Institute, to return there and continue his wax
modelling. He lodged at 97, Stockstrasse, in the house of a brewer,
and modelled in a room nearly opposite. Some of his models have been
preserved in the Anatomical Museum at Heidelberg. In March 1836,
hearing accidentally from Mr. J. W. R. Hoppner, a son of Lord Byron's
friend, that the Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University,
Geheime Hofrath Moncke. had a model of Baron Schilling's telegraph,
Cooke went to see it on March 6, in the Professor's lecture room, an
upper storey of an old convent of Dominicans, where he also lived.
Struck by what he witnessed, he abandoned his medical studies, and
resolved to apply all his energies to the introduction of the telegraph.
Within three weeks he had made, partly at Heidelberg, and partly at
Frankfort, his first galvanometer, or needle telegraph. It consisted of
three magnetic needles surrounded by multiplying coils, and actuated by
three separate circuits of six wires. The movements of the needles
under the action of the currents produced twenty-six different signals
corresponding to the letters of the alphabet.

'Whilst completing the model of my original plan,' he wrote to his
mother on April 5, 'others on entirely fresh systems suggested
themselves, and I have at length succeeded in combining the UTILE of
each, but the mechanism requires a more delicate hand than mine to
execute, or rather instruments which I do not possess. These I can
readily have made for me in London, and by the aid of a lathe I shall he
able to adapt the several parts, which I shall have made by different
mechanicians for secrecy's sake. Should I succeed, it may be the means
of putting some hundreds of pounds in my pocket. As it is a subject on
which I was profoundly ignorant, until my attention was casually
attracted to it the other day, I do not know what others may have done
in the same way; this can best be learned in London.'

The 'fresh systems' referred to was his 'mechanical' telegraph,
consisting of two letter dials, working synchronously, and on which
particular letters of the message were indicated by means of an electro-
magnet and detent. Before the end of March he invented the clock-work
alarm, in which an electro-magnet attracted an armature of soft iron,
and thus withdrew a detent, allowing the works to strike the alarm.
This idea was suggested to him on March 17, 1836, while reading Mrs.
Mary Somerville's 'Connexion of the Physical Sciences,' in travelling
from Heidelberg to Frankfort.

Cooke arrived in London on April 22, and wrote a pamphlet setting forth
his plans for the establishment of an electric telegraph; but it was
never published. According to his own account he also gave considerable
attention to the escapement principle, or step by step movement,
afterwards perfected by Wheatstone. While busy in preparing his
apparatus for exhibition, part of which was made by a clock-maker in
Clerkenwell, he consulted Faraday about the construction of electro-
magnets, The philosopher saw his apparatus and expressed his opinion
that the 'principle was perfectly correct,' and that the 'instrument
appears perfectly adapted to its intended uses.' Nevertheless he was not
very sanguine of making it a commercial success. 'The electro-magnetic
telegraph shall not ruin me,' he wrote to his mother, 'but will hardly
make my fortune.' He was desirous of taking a partner in the work, and
went to Liverpool in order to meet some gentleman likely to forward his
views, and endeavoured to get his instrument adopted on the incline of
the tunnel at Liverpool; but it gave sixty signals, and was deemed too
complicated by the directors. Soon after his return to London, by the
end of April, he had two simpler instruments in working order. All
these preparations had already cost him nearly four hundred pounds.

On February 27, Cooke, being dissatisfied with an experiment on a mile
of wire, consulted Faraday and Dr. Roget as to the action of a current
on an electro-magnet in circuit with a long wire. Dr. Roget sent him to
Wheatstone, where to his dismay he learned that Wheatstone had been
employed for months on the construction of a telegraph for practical
purposes. The end of their conferences was that a partnership in the
undertaking was proposed by Cooke, and ultimately accepted by
Wheatstone. The latter had given Cooke fresh hopes of success when he
was worn and discouraged. 'In truth,' he wrote in a letter, after his
first interview with the Professor, 'I had given the telegraph up since
Thursday evening, and only sought proofs of my being right to do so ere
announcing it to you. This day's enquiries partly revives my hopes, but
I am far from sanguine. The scientific men know little or nothing
absolute on the subject: Wheatstone is the only man near the mark.'

It would appear that the current, reduced in strength by its passage
through a long wire, had failed to excite his electro-magnet, and he was
ignorant of the reason. Wheatstone by his knowledge of Ohm's law and
the electro-magnet was probably able to enlighten him. It is clear that
Cooke had made considerable progress with his inventions before he met
Wheatstone; he possessed a needle telegraph like Wheatstone, an alarm,
and a chronometric dial telegraph, which at all events are a proof that
he himself was an inventor, and that he doubtless bore a part in the
production of the Cooke and Wheatstone apparatus. Contrary to a
statement of Wheatstone, it appears from a letter of Cooke dated March
4, 1837, that Wheatstone 'handsomely acknowledged the advantage' of
Cooke's apparatus had it worked;' his (Wheatstone's) are ingenious, but
not practicable.' But these conflicting accounts are reconciled by the
fact that Cooke's electro-magnetic telegraph would not work, and
Wheatstone told him so, because he knew the magnet was not strong enough
when the current had to traverse a long circuit.

Wheatstone subsequently investigated the conditions necessary to obtain
electro-magnetic effects at a long distance. Had he studied the paper
of Professor Henry in SILLIMAN'S JOURNAL for January 1831, he would have
learned that in a long circuit the electro-magnet had to be wound with a
long and fine wire in order to be effective.

As the Cooke and Wheatstone apparatus became perfected, Cooke was busy
with schemes for its introduction. Their joint patent is dated June 12,
1837, and before the end of the month Cooke was introduced to Mr. Robert
Stephenson, and by his address and energy got leave to try the invention
from Euston to Camden Town along the line of the London and Birmingham
Railway. Cooke suspended some thirteen miles of copper, in a shed at
the Euston terminus, and exhibited his needle and his chronometric
telegraph in action to the directors one morning. But the official
trial took place as we have already described in the life of Wheatstone.

The telegraph was soon adopted on the Great Western Railway, and also on
the Blackwall Railway in 1841. Three years later it was tried on a
Government line from London to Portsmouth. In 1845, the Electric
Telegraph Company, the pioneer association of its kind, was started, and
Mr. Cooke became a director. Wheatstone and he obtained a considerable
sum for the use of their apparatus. In 1866, Her Majesty conferred the
honour of knighthood on the co-inventors; and in 1871, Cooke was granted
a Civil List pension of L100 a year. His latter years were spent in
seclusion, and he died at Farnham on June 25th, 1879. Outside of
telegraphic circles his name had become well-nigh forgotten.


Alexander Bain was born of humble parents in the little town of Thurso,
at the extreme north of Scotland, in the year 1811. At the age of
twelve he went to hear a penny lecture on science which, according to
his own account, set him thinking and influenced his whole future.
Learning the art of clockmaking, he went to Edinburgh, and subsequently
removed to London, where he obtained work in Clerkenwell, then famed for
its clocks and watches. His first patent is dated January 11th, 1841,
and is in the name of John Barwise, chronometer maker, and Alexander
Bain, mechanist, Wigmore Street. It describes his electric clock in
which there is an electro-magnetic pendulum, and the electric current is
employed to keep it going instead of springs or weights. He improved on
this idea in following patents, and also proposed to derive the motive
electricity from an 'earth battery,' by burying plates of zinc and
copper in the ground. Gauss and Steinheil had priority in this device
which, owing to 'polarisation' of the plates and to drought, is not
reliable. Long afterwards Mr. Jones of Chester succeeded in regulating
timepieces from a standard astronomical clock by an improvement on the
method of Bain. On December 21, 1841, Bain, in conjunction with Lieut.
Thomas Wright, R.N., of Percival Street, Clerkenwell, patented means of
applying electricity to control railway engines by turning off the
steam, marking time, giving signals, and printing intelligence at
different places. He also proposed to utilise 'natural bodies of water'
for a return wire, but the earlier experimenters had done so,
particularly Steinheil in 1838. The most important idea in the patent
is, perhaps, his plan for inverting the needle telegraph of Ampere,
Wheatstone and others, and instead of making the signals by the
movements of a pivoted magnetic needle under the influence of an
electrified coil, obtaining them by suspending a movable coil traversed
by the current, between the poles of a fixed magnet, as in the later
siphon recorder of Sir William Thomson. Bain also proposed to make the
coil record the message by printing it in type; and he developed the
idea in a subsequent patent.

Next year, on December 31st, 1844, he projected a mode of measuring the
speed of ships by vanes revolving in the water and indicating their
speed on deck by means of the current. In the same specification he
described a way of sounding the sea by an electric circuit of wires, and
of giving an alarm when the temperature of a ship's hold reached a
certain degree. The last device is the well-known fire-alarm in which
the mercury of a thermometer completes an electric circuit, when it
rises to a particular point of the tube, and thus actuates an electric
bell or other alarm.

On December 12, 1846, Bain, who was staying in Edinburgh at that time,
patented his greatest invention, the chemical telegraph, which bears his
name. He recognised that the Morse and other telegraph instruments in
use were comparatively slow in speed, owing to the mechanical inertia of
the parts; and he saw that if the signal currents were made to pass
through a band of travelling paper soaked in a solution which would
decompose under their action, and leave a legible mark, a very high
speed could be obtained. The chemical he employed to saturate the paper
was a solution of nitrate of ammonia and prussiate of potash, which left
a blue stain on being decomposed by the current from an iron contact or
stylus. The signals were the short and long, or 'dots' and 'dashes' of
the Morse code. The speed of marking was so great that hand signalling
could not keep up with it, and Bain devised a plan of automatic
signalling by means of a running band of paper on which the signals of
the message were represented by holes punched through it. Obviously if
this tape were passed between the contact of a signalling key the
current would merely flow when the perforations allowed the contacts of
the key to touch. This principle was afterwards applied by Wheatstone
in the construction of his automatic sender.

The chemical telegraph was tried between Paris and Lille before a
committee of the Institute and the Legislative Assembly. The speed of
signalling attained was 282 words in fifty-two seconds, a marvellous
advance on the Morse electro-magnetic instrument, which only gave about
forty words a minute. In the hands of Edison the neglected method of
Bain was seen by Sir William Thomson in the Centennial Exhibition,
Philadelphia, recording at the rate of 1057 words in fifty-seven
seconds. In England the telegraph of Bain was used on the lines of the
old Electric Telegraph Company to a limited extent, and in America about
the year 1850 it was taken up by the energetic Mr. Henry O'Reilly, and
widely introduced. But it incurred the hostility of Morse, who obtained
an injunction against it on the slender ground that the running paper
and alphabet used were covered by his patent. By 1859, as Mr. Shaffner
tells us, there was only one line in America on which the Bain system
was in use, namely, that from Boston to Montreal. Since those days of
rivalry the apparatus has never become general, and it is not easy to
understand why, considering its very high speed, the chemical telegraph
has not become a greater favourite.

In 1847 Bain devised an automatic method of playing on wind instruments
by moving a band of perforated paper which controlled the supply of air
to the pipes; and likewise proposed to play a number of keyed
instruments at a distance by means of the electric current. Both of
these plans are still in operation.

These and other inventions in the space of six years are a striking
testimony to the fertility of Bain's imagination at this period. But
after this extraordinary outburst he seems to have relapsed into sloth
and the dissipation of his powers. We have been told, and indeed it is
plain that he received a considerable sum for one or other of his
inventions, probably the chemical telegraph. But while he could rise
from the ranks, and brave adversity by dint of ingenuity and labour, it
would seem that his sanguine temperament was ill-fitted for prosperity.
He went to America, and what with litigation, unfortunate investment,
and perhaps extravagance, the fortune he had made was rapidly

Whether his inventive genius was exhausted, or he became disheartened,
it would be difficult to say, but he never flourished again. The rise
in his condition may be inferred from the preamble to his patent for
electric telegraphs and clocks, dated May 29, 1852, wherein he describes
himself as 'Gentleman,' and living at Beevor Lodge, Hammersmith. After
an ephemeral appearance in this character he sank once more into
poverty, if not even wretchedness. Moved by his unhappy circumstances,
Sir William Thomson, the late Sir William Siemens, Mr. Latimer Clark and
others, obtained from Mr. Gladstone, in the early part of 1873, a
pension for him under the Civil List of L80 a year; but the beneficiary
lived in such obscurity that it was a considerable time before his
lodging could be discovered, and his better fortune take effect. The
Royal Society had previously made him a gift of L150.

In his latter years, while he resided in Glasgow, his health failed, and
he was struck with paralysis in the legs. The massive forehead once
pregnant with the fire of genius, grew dull and slow of thought, while
the sturdy frame of iron hardihood became a tottering wreck. He was
removed to the Home for Incurables at Broomhill, Kirkintilloch, where he
died on January 2, 1877, and was interred in the Old Aisle Cemetery. He
was a widower, and had two children, but they were said to be abroad at
the time, the son in America and the daughter on the Continent.

Several of Bain's earlier patents are taken out in two names, but this
was perhaps owing to his poverty compelling him to take a partner. If
these and other inventions were substantially his own, and we have no
reason to suppose that he received more help from others than is usual
with inventors, we must allow that Bain was a mechanical genius of the
first order --a born inventor. Considering the early date of his
achievements, and his lack of education or pecuniary resource, we
cannot but wonder at the strength, fecundity, and prescience of his
creative faculty. It has been said that he came before his time; but
had he been more fortunate in other respects, there is little,doubt that
he would have worked out and introduced all or nearly all his
inventions, and probably some others. His misfortunes and sorrows are
so typical of the 'disappointed inventor' that we would fain learn more
about his life; but beyond a few facts in a little pamphlet (published
by himself, we believe), there is little to be gathered; a veil of
silence has fallen alike upon his triumphs, his errors and his miseries.


THE leading electrician of Germany is Dr. Ernst Werner Siemens, eldest
brother of the same distinguished family of which our own Sir William
Siemens was a member. Ernst, like his brother William, was born at
Lenthe, near Hanover, on December 13, 1816. He was educated at the
College of Lubeck in Maine, and entered the Prussian Artillery service
as a volunteer. He pursued his scientific studies at the Artillery and
Engineers' School in Berlin, and in 1838 obtained an officer's

Physics and chemistry were his favourite studies; and his original
researches in electro-gilding resulted in a Prussian patent in 1841.
The following year he, in conjunction with his brother William, took out
another patent for a differential regulator. In 1844 he was appointed
to a post in the artillery workshops in Berlin, where he learned
telegraphy, and in 1845 patented a dial and printing telegraph, which is
still in use in Germany.

In 1846, he was made a member of a commission organised in Berlin to
introduce electric telegraphs in place of the optical ones hitherto
employed in Prussia, and he succeeded in getting the commission to adopt
underground telegraph lines. For the insulation of the wires he
recommended gutta-percha, which was then becoming known as an insulator.
In the following year he constructed a machine for covering copper wire
with the melted gum by means of pressure; and this machine is
substantially the same as that now used for the purpose in cable

In 1848, when the war broke out with Denmark, he was sent to Kiel where,
together with his brother-in-law, Professor C. Himly, he laid the first
submarine mines, fired by electricity and thus protected the town of
Kiel from the advance of the enemies' fleet.

Of late years the German Government has laid a great network of
underground lines between the various towns and fortresses of the
empire; preferring them to overhead lines as being less liable to
interruption from mischief, accident, hostile soldiers, or stress of
weather. The first of such lines was, however, laid as long ago as
1848, by Werner Siemens, who, in the autumn of that year, deposited a
subterranean cable between Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Main. Next year
a second cable was laid from the Capital to Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle,
and Verviers.

In 1847 the, subject of our memoir had, along with Mr. Halske, founded a
telegraph factory, and he now left the army to give himself up to
scientific work and the development of his business. This factory
prospered well, and is still the chief continental works of the kind.
The new departure made by Werner Siemens was fortunate for electrical
science; and from then till now a number of remarkable inventions have
proceeded from his laboratory.

The following are the more notable advances made:--In October 1845, a
machine for the measurement of small intervals of time, and the speed of
electricity by means of electric sparks, and its application in 1875 for
measuring the speed of the electric current in overland lines.

In January 1850, a paper on telegraph lines and apparatus, in which the
theory of the electro-static charge in insulated wires, as well as
methods and formula: for the localising of faults in underground wires
were first established. In 1851, the firm erected the first automatic
fire telegraphs in Berlin, and in the same year, Werner Siemens wrote a
treatise on the experience gained with the underground lines of the
Prussian telegraph system. The difficulty of communicating through long
underground lines led him to the invention of automatic translation,
which was afterwards improved upon by Steinheil, and, in 1852, he
furnished the Warsaw-Petersburg line with automatic fast-speed writers.
The messages were punched in a paper band by means of the well-known
Siemens' lever punching apparatus, and then automatically transmitted in
a clockwork instrument.

In 1854 the discovery (contemporaneous with that of Frischen) of
simultaneous transmission of messages in opposite directions, and
multiplex transmission of messages by means of electro-magnetic
apparatus. The 'duplex' system which is now employed both on land lines
and submarine cables had been suggested however, before this by Dr.
Zetsche, Gintl, and others.

In 1856 he invented the Siemens' magneto-electric dial instrument
giving alternate currents. From this apparatus originated the well-
known Siemens' armature, and from the receiver was developed the
Siemens' polarised relay, with which the working of submarine and other
lines could be effected with alternate currents; and in the same year,
during the laying of the Cagliari to Bona cable, he constructed and
first applied the dynamometer, which has become of such importance in
the operations of cable laying.

In 1857, he investigated the electro-static induction and retardation of
currents in insulated wires, a phenomenon which he had observed in 1850,
and communicated an account of it to the French Academy of Sciences.

'In these researches he developed mathematically Faraday's theory of
molecular induction, and thereby paved the way in great measure for its
general acceptance.' His ozone apparatus, his telegraph instrument
working with alternate currents, and his instrument for translating on
and automatically discharging submarine cables also belong to the year
1857. The latter instruments were applied to the Sardinia, Malta, and
Corfu cable.

In 1859, he constructed an electric log; he discovered that a dielectric
is heated by induction; he introduced the well known Siemens' mercury
unit, and many improvements in the manufacture of resistance coils. He
also investigated the law of change of resistance in wires by heating;
and published several formulae and methods for testing resistances and
determining 'faults' by measuring resistances. These methods were
adopted by the electricians of the Government service in Prussia, and by
Messrs. Siemens Brothers in London, during the manufacture of the Malta
to Alexandria cable, which, was, we believe, the first long cable
subjected to a system of continuous tests.

'In 1861, he showed that the electrical resistance of molten alloys is
equal to the sum of the resistances of the separate metals, and that
latent heat increases the specific resistance of metals in a greater
degree than free heat.' In 1864 he made researches on the heating of the
sides of a Leyden jar by the electrical discharge. In 1866 he published
the general theory of dynamo-electric machines, and the principle of
accumulating the magnetic effect, a principle which, however, had been
contemporaneously discovered by Mr. S. A. Varley, and described in a
patent some years before by Mr. Soren Hjorth, a Danish inventor.
Hjorth's patent is to be found in the British Patent Office Library, and
until lately it was thought that he was the first and true inventor of
the 'dynamo' proper, but we understand there is a prior inventor still,
though we have not seen the evidence in support of the statement.

The reversibility of the dynamo was enunciated by Werner Siemens in
1867; but it was not experimentally demonstrated on any practical scale
until 1870, when M. Hippolite Fontaine succeeded in pumping water at the
Vienna international exhibition by the aid of two dynamos connected in
circuit; one, the generator, deriving motion from a hydraulic engine,
and in turn setting in motion the receiving dynamo which worked the
pump. Professor Clerk Maxwell thought this discovery the greatest of
the century; and the remark has been repeated more than once. But it is
a remark which derives its chief importance from the man who made it,
and its credentials from the paradoxical surprise it causes. The
discovery in question is certainly fraught with very great consequences
to the mechanical world; but in itself it is no discovery of importance,
and naturally follows from Faraday's far greater and more original
discovery of magneto-electric generation.

In 1874, Dr. Siemens published a treatise on the laying and testing of
submarine cables. In 1875, 1876 and 1877, he investigated the action of
light on crystalline selenium, and in 1878 he studied the action of the

The recent work of Dr. Siemens has been to improve the pneumatic
railway, railway signalling, electric lamps, dynamos, electro-plating
and electric railways. The electric railway at Berlin in 1880, and
Paris in 1881, was the beginning of electric locomotion, a subject of
great importance and destined in all probability, to very wide extension
in the immediate future. Dr. Siemens has received many honours from
learned societies at home and abroad; and a title equivalent to
knighthood from the German Government.


MR. Clark was born at Great Marlow in 1822, and probably acquired his
scientific bent while engaged at a manufacturing chemist's business in
Dublin. On the outbreak of the railway mania in 1845 he took to
surveying, and through his brother, Mr. Edwin Clark, became assistant
engineer to the late Robert Stephenson on the Britannia Bridge. While
thus employed, he made the acquaintance of Mr. Ricardo, founder of the
Electric Telegraph Company, and joined that Company as an engineer in
1850. He rose to be chief engineer in 1854, and held the post till
1861, when he entered into a partnership with Mr. Charles T. Bright.
Prior to this, he had made several original researches; in 1853, he
found that the retardation of current on insulated wires was independent
of the strength of current, and his experiments formed the subject of a
Friday evening lecture by Faraday at the Royal Institution--a sufficient
mark of their importance.

In 1854 he introduced the pneumatic dispatch into London, and, in 1856,
he patented his well-known double-cup insulator. In 1858, he and Mr.
Bright produced the material known as 'Clark's Compound,' which is so
valuable for protecting submarine cables from rusting in the sea-water.
In 1859, Mr. Clark was appointed engineer to the Atlantic Telegraph
Company which tried to lay an Anglo-American cable in 1865. in
partnership with Sir C. T. Bright, who had taken part in the first
Atlantic cable expedition, Mr. Clark laid a cable for the Indian
Government in the Red Sea, in order to establish a telegraph to India.
In 1886, the partnership ceased; but, in 1869, Mr Clark went out to the
Persian Gulf to lay a second cable there. Here he was nearly lost in
the shipwreck of the Carnatic on the Island of Shadwan in the Red Sea.

Subsequently Mr. Clark became the head of a firm of consulting
electricians, well known under the title of Clark, Forde and Company,
and latterly including the late Mr. C. Hockin and Mr. Herbert Taylor.

The Mediterranean cable to India, the East Indian Archipelago cable to
Australia, the Brazilian Atlantic cables were all laid under the
supervision of this firm. Mr. Clark is now in partnership with Mr.
Stanfield, and is the joint-inventor of Clark and Stanfield's circular
floating dock. He is also head of the well-known firm of electrical
manufacturers, Messrs. Latimer Clark, Muirhead and Co., of Regency
Street, Westminster.

The foregoing sketch is but an imperfect outline of a very successful
life. `But enough has been given to show that we have here an engineer
of various and even brilliant gifts. Mr. Clark has applied himself in
divers directions, and never applied himself in vain. There is always
some practical result to show which will be useful to others. In
technical literature he published a description of the Conway and
Britannia Tubular Bridges as long ago as 1849. There is a valuable
communication of his in the Board of Trade Blue Rook on Submarine
Cables. In 1868, he issued a useful work on ELECTRICAL MEASUREMENTS,
and in 1871 joined with Mr. Robert Sabine in producing the well-known
ELECTRICAL TABLES AND FORMULAE, a work which was for a long time the
electrician's VADE-MECUM. In 1873, he communicated a lengthy paper on
CELL; and quite recently he published a treatise on the USE OF THE

Mr. Clark is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London, as well as a
member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Royal Astronomical
Society. the Physical Society, etc., and was elected fourth President
of the Society of Telegraph Engineers and of Electricians, now the
Institution of Electrical Engineers.

He is a great lover of books and gardening--two antithetical hobbies-
-which are charming in themselves, and healthily counteractive. The
rich and splendid library of electrical works which he is forming, has
been munificently presented to the Institution of Electrical Engineers.


Theodose-Achille-Louis, Comte du Moncel, was born at Paris on March 6,
1821. His father was a peer of France, one of the old nobility, and a
General of Engineers. He possessed a model farm near Cherbourg, and had
set his heart on training his son to carry on this pet project; but
young Du Moncel, under the combined influence of a desire for travel, a
love of archaeology, and a rare talent for drawing, went off to Greece,
and filled his portfolio with views of the Parthenon and many other
pictures of that classic region. His father avenged himself by
declining to send him any money; but the artist sold his sketches and
relied solely on his pencil. On returning to Paris he supported
himself by his art, but at the same time gratified his taste for science
in a discursive manner. A beautiful and accomplished lady of the Court,
Mademoiselle Camille Clementine Adelaide Bachasson de Montalivet,
belonging to a noble and distinguished family, had plighted her troth
with him, and, as we have been told, descended one day from her
carriage, and wedded the man of her heart, in the humble room of a flat
not far from the Grand Opera House. They were a devoted pair, and
Madame du Moncel played the double part of a faithful help-meet, and
inspiring genius. Heart and soul she encouraged her husband to
distinguish himself by his talents and energy, and even assisted him in
his labours.

About 1852 he began to occupy himself almost exclusively with electrical
science. His most conspicuous discovery is that pressure diminishes the
resistance of contact between two conductors, a fact which Clerac in
1866 utilised in the construction of a variable resistance from carbon,
such as plumbage, by compressing it with an adjustable screw. It is
also the foundation of the carbon transmitter of Edison, and the more
delicate microphone of Professor Hughes. But Du Moncel is best known as
an author and journalist. His 'Expose des applications de
l'electricite' published in 1856 ET SEQ., and his 'Traite pratique de
Telegraphie,' not to mention his later books on recent marvels, such as
the telephone, microphone, phonograph, and electric light, are standard
works of reference. In the compilation of these his admirable wife
assisted him as a literary amanuensis, for she had acquired a
considerable knowledge of electricity.

In 1866 he was created an officer of the Legion of Honour, and he became
a member of numerous learned societies. For some time he was an adviser
of the French telegraph administration, but resigned the post in 1873.
The following year he was elected a Member of the Academy of Sciences,
Paris. In 1879, he became editor of a new electrical journal
established at Paris under the title of 'La Lumiere Electrique,' and
held the position until his death, which happened at Paris after a few
days' illness on February 16, 1884. His devoted wife was recovering
from a long illness which had caused her affectionate husband much
anxiety, and probably affected his health. She did not long survive
him, but died on February 4, 1887, at Mentone in her fifty-fifth year.
Count du Moncel was an indefatigable worker, who, instead of abandoning
himself to idleness and pleasure like many of his order, believed it his
duty to be active and useful in his own day, as his ancestors had been
in the past.


THIS distinguished American electrician was born at Barnesville in
Belmont county, Ohio, on August 2, 1835. His family were Quakers, and
in early life he was apprenticed to a carpenter, but showed a taste for
chemistry, and at the age of twenty-one he went to Oberlin College,
where he studied for five years. At the age of thirty he turned his
attention to electricity, and invented a relay which adapted itself to
the varying insulation of the telegraph line. He was then led to devise
several forms of automatic repeaters, but they are not much employed.
In 1870-2, he brought out a needle annunciator for hotels, and another
for elevators, which had a large sale. His 'Private Telegraph Line
Printer' was also a success. From 1873-5 he was engaged in perfecting
his 'Electro-harmonic telegraph.' His speaking telegraph was likewise
the outcome of these researches. The 'Telautograph,' or telegraph which
writes the messages as a fac-simile of the sender's penmanship by an
ingenious application of intermittent currents, is the latest of his
more important works. Mr. Gray is a member of the firm of Messrs. Gray
and Barton, and electrician to the Western Electric Manufacturing
Company of Chicago. His home is at Highland Park near that city.


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