Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/564

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what better practical articulation, hereafter testified to, was obtained. But, even on this showing, what can be plainer than that Reis was the originator of the new art of the electrical transmission of speech? Granting that the articulation at this time, and even in 1864, was poor—poorer even than Gray's in 1875, and Bell's in the spring of 1876—it was still articulation, understood where the words were not foreknown by the listener.

With regard to the present capability of Reis's instruments, Professor Thompson says that he has found the Reis transmitters competent to transmit both vowels and consonants with perfect distinctness; and from Reis's "knitting-needle receiver he has obtained articulation, exceeding, in perfection of definition of vowels and consonants, the articulation of any other telephone receiver he has ever listened to."

Among other contemporary documents, the important report of Legat on Reis's telephone to the Austro-German Telegraph Society in 1862 is reproduced in full. From this report we have taken one of the illustrations in this paper. The report is not only a description of Reis's instruments, but an elaborate discussion of the problems connected with the telephonic reproduction of sounds, including the transmission of speech. The documents of this date show that the subject of telephony was usually studied in connection with vocal song rather than simple speech, and that the transmission of musical sounds, which was generally successful, was preferred for illustration to the more difficult, but also much more important, transmission of words and sentences. But the fact of articulation continually appears.

In a chapter containing the testimony of contemporary witnesses, Professor G. Quincke, Professor of Physics in the University of Heidelberg, writes, under date of March 10, 1883, that he was present at Reis's exhibition before the Naturforscher Versamlung, at Giessen, 1864. He says: "I heard distinctly both singing and talking. I distinctly remember having heard the words of the German poem:

"'Ach, du lieber Angustin,
Alles ist bin,'" etc.

Ernst Horkeimer, a pupil of Reis, writes that he assisted him in most of his experiments prior to the spring of 1862; that the transmission of speech was Reis's chief aim; "the transmitting of musical tones being only an after-thought, worked out for the convenience of public exhibition," and that some words were successfully transmitted without previous arrangement, but not (at that date) whole sentences. He states that Reis anticipated the use of thin metallic tympanums, and tried one, varnished with shellac on both sides, except the central point of contact.

Léon Gamier, proprietor and principal of the institute of which Reis was a teacher, states that he often talked with Reis through his