Cros, Hortensius Emile Charles

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b. 1 October 1842 Fabrezan (Aude), France
d. 9 August 1888 Paris, France
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French inventor of chromolithography and the principles of reproducible sound recording.
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He received no formal education, but was brought up by his father, a distinguished teacher and philosopher. He dabbled in diverse subjects (modern and ancient languages, mathematics, drawing) in 1856–60 when he became an instructor at the institute of the Deaf-Mute at Paris. He became a prolific inventor and poet and took part in artistic life in Paris. In the 1867 Exposition Universelle in Paris, Cros contributed a facsimile telegraph; he deposited with the Académie des Sciences a sealed text on photography which was not opened until 1876. In the meantime he published a small text on a general solution of the problem of colour photography which appeared almost simultaneously with a similar publication by Louis Ducos du Hauron and which gave rise to bitter discussions over priority. He deposited a sealed paper on 18 April 1877 concerning his concept of apparatus for recording and reproduction of sound which he called the paléophone. When it was opened on 3 December 1877 it was not known that T.A. Edison was already active in this field: Cros is considered the conceptual founder of reproducible sound, whereas Edison was the first "to reduce to practice", which is one of the US criteria for patentability.
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Bibliography
French patent no. 124, 213 (filed 1 May and 2 August 1878).
Further Reading
Louis Forestier, 1969, Charles Cros: L'Homme et l'oeuvre, Paris: Seghers.
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Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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