Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/567

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THE TELEPHONE AND ITS INVENTOR.

sounds, or combination of sounds, in the transmitter. And he represents graphically the undulatory curves of consonant and vowel sounds, byway of illustration. Between the transmitter and receiver, on whose necessary identity of vibrations he constantly insists, he employs an electric current as the intermediate, to take on, in its wave-motions or polarizations, all the possible variations of the sound-waves striking on the transmitter, and to give them up again to the receiver. Reis, without talking about "undulatory" currents, makes them the staple of his telephone.

Professor Thompson, without the least imputation of plagiarism, shows, in parallel columns, the identity of expression between Reis and Bell, in their statement of the essential principles of the telephone. The impression of the identity of Reis's and Bell's discovery grows, page by page, during the perusal of this book.

The conclusion reached by Professor Thompson, from the survey of the whole field—a conclusion which seems to be fully borne out by the facts adduced—is the following: "There is not, in the telephone exchanges of England to-day, any single telephone to be found in which the fundamental principles of Reis's telephone are not the essential and indispensable features."

This conclusion makes the speaking telephone, in its elementary form, free to the whole world. It opens wide the door for the future development of the telephone; and it should assure to all those who, by their genius and industry, in our day and generation, have improved or may improve the telephone, an ample pecuniary reward. The recompense due to the family of Philipp Reis should take the form hereafter not of a tax, but a free gift from the world's gratitude.

This book comes, then, as a charter of freedom of speech in a larger sphere than ever before known.

In the light of historic facts which this book establishes, the decision of the courts of the United States that Professor Bell is the discoverer of a new and useful art (the electric transmission of speech), to which he has exclusive title, must be reversed as speedily as possible, that our courts may retain the respect of the people of the United States.