The First Microphone

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Added: Thursday, March 3rd, 2016
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The First Microphone

The term microphone was coined by Sir Charles Wheatstone way back in 1827. His microphone, however, was not like any microphone in use today. It resembled a physician’s stethoscope, but instead of pneumatic tubes that carried the sound to the listener’s ears, it used thin solid metal realized that sound traveled more quickly through dense media like metal than it did through air. He even proposed transmission of telegraph signals over fairly long distances (from London to Edinburgh) by merely mechanically coupling the telegraph to a wire and propagating the signal by acoustical energy rather than electricity. By the way, when he proposed this in 1823 he called it “the telephone”.The “kaleidophone” was Wheatstone’s invention for visualizing sound. Similar to his microphone it was a thin metal rod that would have one end placed on the sound source. There was a silvered bead at the other end, which would reflect a ‘spot’ of light. Due to the phenomenon known as “persistence of vision” as the rod vibrated the in a darkened room the spot of light would trace the sound though Wheatstone’s version of a microphone had very limited applications, he was an audio pioneer, and was knighted for his work in 1868.

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