Photograph - Photography
"The Human Voice is the most beautiful insturment of all, but it is the most difficult to play" ...Richard Strauss
Original photograph of a vintage microphone found at the American Jazz Museum in Kansas City, Missouri. Digitally enhanced and painted.
In order to speak to larger groups of people, there was a desire to increase the volume of the spoken word. The earliest known device to achieve this dates to 600 BC with the invention of masks with specially designed mouth openings that acoustically augmented the voice in amphitheatres. In 1665, the English physicist Robert Hooke was the first to experiment with a medium other than air with the invention of the "lovers' telephone" made of stretched wire with a cup attached at each end.
German inventor Johann Philipp Reis designed an early sound transmitter that used a metallic strip attached to a vibrating membrane that would produce intermittent current. Better results were achieved with the "liquid transmitter" design in Scottish-American Alexander Graham Bell's telephone of 1876 the diaphragm was attached to a conductive rod in an acid solution. These systems, however, gave a very poor sound quality.
David Edward Hughes invented a carbon microphone in the 1870s.
The first microphone that enabled proper voice telephony was the (loose-contact) carbon microphone. This was independently developed by David Edward Hughes in England and Emile Berliner and Thomas Edison in the US. Although Edison was awarded the first patent (after a long legal dispute) in mid-1877, Hughes had demonstrated his working device in front of many witnesses some years earlier, and most historians credit him with its invention. The carbon microphone is the direct prototype of today's microphones and was critical in the development of telephony, broadcasting and the recording industries. Thomas Edison refined the carbon microphone into his carbon-button transmitter of 1886. This microphone was employed at the first ever radio broadcast, a performance at the New York Metropolitan Opera House in 1910.
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July 24th, 2016
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