|Explanation||Hans Christian Ørstedt||Philipp Reis||Alessandro Volta||Enrico Fermi||Mario Corbino|
|Ettore Majorana||Luigi Galvani||Marija Aleksaite-Gimbutiene||Carl Auer von Welsbach|
Philipp Reis -
The telephone was invented by four different people in three different countries. Although the Scottish-American Alexander Graham Bell is generally credited as the "winner" in the race to invent the telephone in the period between 1850 and 1876, his invention was preceded or paralleled by Philipp Reis, the Italian Antonio Meucci and the American Elisha Gray.
In his short life Philipp Reis accomplished a remarkable
feat that brought him neither wealth nor fame. In 1852 Reis began work
on his project by gathering some common materials found around his house
in Friedrichsdorf, Germany near by Frankfurt.
It is the microphone that is key to any telephone device. Without the microphone there would also be no radio, no sound movies or TV, and no recording industry. That is where both Bell and Reis began. For his first experiments in the 1850s Reis used a sausage skin stretched across a hollowed-out cork as a membrane for his crude microphone. Using wax, he attached a metal contact to the membrane. This contact was linked to the strings of a violin, which served as a receiver or speaker. Later he would use an electromagnetic receiver.
nine years of work Reis had refined his device to the point that he
could present it to Frankfurt's
Physics Association on 26 October 1861. His lecture on "Telephony
Using Galvanic Current" did not result in as much enthusiasm as
Reis might have hoped for. But two years later 50 copies of his "Telephon"
were manufactured by a German firm and a few more in England.
Today the former Reis home in Friedrichsdorf is a museum dedicated to the inventor and operated by the Museumsstiftung Post und Telekommunikation. Since 1987, the Philipp-Reis-Preis has been awarded every two years to a promising German inventor under the age of 40.