Johann Philip Reis


A Misunderstanding of Translation



Published Articles

A Comparison of Bell & Reis


Invention - Transmitters

Original Drawing from Reis's notes

Reis built transmitters in ten or twelve different forms. In theory the first was really no different than the last. The concept was to imitate the mechanical structure of the human ear. The Tin Tube, Collar box Board Block, Hollow Tube, Wooden Cone, Hochstift Form, Lever Form, Transitional Form and The square box all evolved from this first form the wooden ear.

"Every tone, and every combination of tones evokes in our ear, if it enters it, vibrations of the drum skin, the motions of which may be represented by a curve."

"As soon therefore, as it shall become possible, at any place in any prescribed manner, to set up vibrations whose curves are like those of any given tone, or combination of tones, we shall then receive the same impression as that tone or combination of tones would have produced upon us." -Reis

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The Tenth - The Square Box

"In this instrument the idea of the human ear is still carried out. The tin funnel with its flaring embouchuer, still represents the auditory tube and pinna. The tympanum, no longer at the very and of the tube, is strained across a circular aperture in the lid. Upon it rests the strip of Platinum foil which servers as an electrode, and resting in loose contact with this lies the little angular piece of metal which Reis called the "Hammerchen". Above all lay a circular glass disk (a cover to keep out the dust), which was removed when the insturment was used So sensitive did this form prove itself that it was found unneccessary to speak right into the mouth peice, and the speaker in practice talked or sang with his mouth at some little distance vertically above the instrument; a method which had the advantage of not so soon relaxing the membrane by the moisture of the breath. The figures show the auxiliary apparatus attached at the side, consisting of a key for interrupting the circuit (added at the first to enable the experimenters to single out the "galvanic tones" from the reproduced tones, and later applied, and an electro- magnet to serve as a "call," by which the listener at the other end could siginal back to the transmitter." Reis-August 1863