The New York Times,
February 3, 1877, p.2:
THE TELEPHONE.HISTORY OF THE INSTRUMENT
AND ITS INVENTOR--
A CONVERSATION BY WIRE
ON WEDNESDAY BETWEEN BOSTON
AND A NEIGHBORING TOWN...
From the Boston Transcript, Feb. 1.
Bell logo from the July 1, 1913 NY Times
At noon yesterday a distinguished party of gentlemen were assembled at the office of the Boston Rubber Shoe Company on Congress street in order to witness a series of experiments performed on the telephone between the inventor, Prof. A. Graham Bell, here, and his associate, Mr. Thomas A. Watson, at the residence of Mr. Converse at Maiden, about six miles distant.
Prof. Bell had been invited by some of our most prominent citizens to give a practical demonstration of the most recent developments of an invention which, in accordance with its name, has already sounded far and wide the fame of the telephone.
The telephone, in its present form, consists of a powerful, compound, permanent magnet, to the poles of which are attached ordinary telegraph coils of insulated wire. In front of the poles, surrounded by these coils of wire, is placed a diaphragm of iron. A mouthpiece to converge the sound upon this diaphragm substantially completes the arrangement.
As is well known, the motion of steel or iron in front of the poles of a magnet creates a current of electricity in coils surrounding the poles of the magnet, and the duration of this current of electricity coincides with the duration of the motion of the steel or iron moved or vibrated in the proximity of the magnet.
When the human voice causes the diaphragm to vibrate, electrical undulations are induced in the coils environing the magnets, precisely analogous to the undulations of the air produced by that voice.
These coils are connected with the line wire, which may be of any length, provided the insulation be good. The undulations which are induced in these coils travel through the line wire, and, passing through the coils of an instrument of precisely similar construction at the distant station, are again resolved into air undulations by the diaphragm of this instrument.
The simplicity of Prof. Bell's system will be apparent when it is known that the voltaic battery is entirely dispensed with. All that is required for communicating between the most distant points are the instruments and the telegraph wire...
The short distance which separated Messrs. Bell and Watson in their experiments yesterday must by no means be considered a gauge of the powers of the instrument, as any effect produced by electricity over a short wire can with equal facility be produced by one extending 100, or, for that matter, 1,000 miles. In fact, the inventors have already conversed through an artificial resistance far exceeding that of any of the Atlantic cables.
Although to the uninitiated this might seem to imply that conversation could be carried on across the Atlantic by this means, yet, as all electricians and men of science are aware, there are other elements entering into the consideration of such a problem besides that of mere resistance.
As a proof of the rapid progress made in this science, it may be stated that it is only within the past few months that the instrument has been sufficiently perfected to allow of free and easy conversation taking place through this new vehicle...
Prof. Bell, who, by birth a Scotchman, came over to Boston from Canada in 1872. In the following year he was offered and accepted the Professorship of Vocal Physiology at the Boston University. This was chiefly owing to the fame enjoyed both by Mr. Bell and by his father as teachers of this much-neglected science in Europe.
The Bell system of physiological symbols has been so thoroughly successful in this country as to completely revolutionize the methods of instructing the deaf and dumbf, and within the last six months four new schools for this special purpose have been opened, in Michigan, Maine, Illinois, and New-York, while the system has also been introduced into a large proportion of the establishments of this class already existing in the United States.
Besides its beneficent influence on those persons deprived of the ordinary faculties of hearing and speaking, the Bell system has very largely facilitated the acquirement by Europeans of such languages as Chinese, Japanese, Cingalese, and the Zulu dialect.
We mention this circustance because it is simply as a result of the constant attention paid by Prof. Bell to the mechanism of the human voice, both in instructing teachers and in directly ameliorating the condition of the deaf and dumb, that he has devised his telephonic system.
The experiments yesterday were as follows: Telephones having been connected with the private telegraphic line of the Boston Rubber Shoe Company, and the operators at either end having taken up their station, conversation at once commenced. Stationed at the Boston end of the wire, Prof. Bell requested Mr. Watson to speak in loud tones, with a view of enabling the entire company at once to distinguish the sounds.
This was so successful that a smile of mingled pleasure and surprise played on the features of those present. That it, however, might not be supposed that loud speaking was essential to intelligibility, Mr. Bell explained that soft tones could be heard across the wires even more distinctly than loud utterances, even a whisper being audible. In confirmation of this statement, Mr. Watson commenced speaking in turn with each member of the company, and after the efficiency of this method had been proved to the satisfaction of all, he took up a newspaper and informed the assemblage that gold had closed the previous evening in New-York at 105 5/8. As there were quite a number of business men present, the effect that this practical demonstration of the value of the telephone produced can scarcely be exaggerated.
Other passages from the daily journals were then given, and by this time the desire for conversation having become general, Mr. Watson was plied with questions such as: "Is it thawing or freezing at Maiden?" "Who will be the next President?" &c.
It was remarkable that Mr. Watson was able to distinguish between the voices at the Boston end, he calling at least one gentleman by name as soon as the latter commenced speaking.
This went on for some time, until a lady at the Maiden end sent the company an invitation to lunch per telephone, and an appropriate response was made by the same medium.
At length the company were requested to remain quiet while a lady at the other end conveyed to them the sweet strains of music. The assemblage thereupon listened rapt attention while a young lady commenced singing "The Last Rose of Summer." The effect was simply charming. Possessing, as the fair cantatrice does, a voice of exquisite sweetness, the sounds penetrated into the Boston end of the telephone with a distinctness equal to that attainable in the more distant parts of a large concert room, and a unanimous vote of thanks was sent by the handy little instrument which had procured for the assemblage so agreeable an hour.
Among those present were electricians and gentlemen occupying prominent positions on our Western railroads, and one and all expressed the conviction that the telephone was destined to achieve the greatest possible results.
Let us hope that the day is fast approaching when every man will be in a position to turn on the electricity in his house with the same facility with which he now turns on the water or gas.
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