Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/742

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

the end of the longer arm of this lever is a pointed slip of thin copper foil, which just touched the vertical surface of a smoked-glass plate. The point on the short arm of the lever rested in the furrow in which are the depressions and elevations made in the foil on the cylinder. Rotating the cylinder with a slow and uniform motion, while the plate of glass was slid along, the point of copper-foil scraped the lampblack off the smoked-glass plate and traced on it the magnified profile of the depressions and elevations in the foil on the cylinder. I say expressly elevations as well as depressions in the foil, because, when the plate vibrates outward, the furrow in the foil often entirely disappears, and is always lessened in its depth by this outward motion of the point. One who has never made a special investigation of the character of the impressions on the phonograph, and forms his opinion from their appearance to his eye, might state that they are simply dots and dashes, like the marks on the filet of a Morse instrument.

Another method of obtaining the profile of the impressions on the foil is to back it with an easily-fusible substance, and then, cutting through the middle of the furrows, we obtain a section, in which the edge of the foil presents to us the form of the elevations and depressions.

The instrument has been so short a time in my possession, that I have not had the leisure to make on it the careful and extended series of experiments which it deserves. I have, however, obtained several traces, and I have especially studied the characters of the trace of the sound of bat. As far as the few experiments warrant an expression of opinion, it seems that the profile of the impressions made on the phonograph and the contours of the flames of König, when vibrated by the same compound sound, bear a close resemblance.

In Fig. 3 we give on line A the appearance to the eye of the impressions

 
PSM V12 D742 Various sounds recorded by Edison.png
Fig. 3.

on the foil, when the sound of a in bat is sung against the iron plate of the phonograph. B is the magnified profile of these impressions on the smoked glass obtained as described above. C gives the appearance of König's flame when the same sound is sung quite close to its membrane. I say expressly quite close to its membrane, for the form of the trace obtained from a point attached to a membrane vibrating under the influence of a compound sound depends on