Reis, (Johann) Philipp

SUBJECT AREA: Telecommunications
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b. 7 January 1834 Geinherusen, Hesse-Kassel, Germany
d. 14 January 1874 Friedrichsdorf, Germany
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German schoolteacher and inventor who constructed an early form of telephone.
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Reis entered the Garniers Institute in Friedrichsdorf in 1844 and then the Hassels Institute in Frankfurt. There he developed an interest in science, but on leaving school in 1850 he was apprenticed to the colour trade by his uncle. This involved study at the trade school and Dr Poppe's Institute in Frankfurt; while there he joined the Frankfurt Physical Society. Following military service in 1855 he studied to be a teacher. After his graduation he obtained a post at Garniers, where he began to pursue experiments with electricity and the development of hearing aids. In 1859 he sent a paper on the radiation of electricity to the editor of Annalen der Physik, but this was rejected, as was a later submission. Undeterred, he continued his experiments and by 1861 he had designed several instruments for the transmission of sound. The transmitter consisted of a membrane on which rested a metal strip that made contact with a metal point and completed an electrical circuit under the action of sound. The receiver consisted of an iron needle surrounded by a coil and resting on a sounding box, the operation probably being achieved by magnetostriction. The invention, which he described in a lecture to the Frankfurt Physical Society on 26 October 1861 and in a published paper, could produce tones and probably also speech, but was largely rejected by the scientific fraternity. The claim to produce speech was discounted in subsequent court cases that upheld the patents of Alexander Bell.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
On 8 December 1878 a monument to Reis was erected in the Friedrichsdorf Cemetery by the Physical Society of Frankfurt.
Bibliography
1860–1, "Über Telephone durch den galvani-schen Strom", Jahresbericht der Physikalische 57.
Further Reading
J.Munro, 1891, Heroes of the Telegraph.
Silvanus P.Thompson, 1883, Philipp Reis. Inventor of the Telephone.
B.B.Bauer, 1962, "A century of the microphone", Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers : 720.
KF

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

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