Антонио Меуччи Италия
официально почтила память Антонио Меуччи, которого считают подлинным
изобретателем телефона. Однако, будучи нищим иммигрантом в США, он не смог
найти 10 долларов, чтобы запатентовать свое изобретение.
владельцем прототипа конструкции стал американец
Александер Грэм Белл, которому достались и слава, и богатство.
Италии Маурицио Гаспарри заявил в среду, что Рим не собирается содействовать
международному спору, а лишь намерен почтить память великого земляка.
году, через 113 лет после смерти А.Меуччи, Конгресс США официально признал,
что изобретателем телефона был именно этот итальянец, а не А.
Флоренции примерно в 1860 году обнаружил возможность превращения звуковой
вибрации в электрические импульсы и их передачи по проводам.
свои эксперименты в кубинской столице Гаване, где лечил ревматические
заболевания с помощью электрических разрядов.
В 1871 году
уже в Нью-Йорке итальянец подал заявку на патент своей конструкции
"телетрофона", однако у него не нашлось 10 долларов для регистрации.
В 1874 году
он представил свое изобретение крупной американской компании "Вестерн
Юнион", которая, однако, внешне не проявила к нему интереса.
Но через два
года А.Меуччи с изумлением прочитал в газете, что под эгидой этой фирмы
телефон изобретен выходцем из Шотландии А.
добиться справедливости через нью-йоркский суд успехом не увенчались, и
итальянский иммигрант умер в бедности
Изобретатель, после осуществления
работы на родине и Гаване
(Куба), где был эмигрантом в 1833,
в 1845 году приехал Long Island,
где открыл свечной заводик. Здесь
совместно с Garibaldi в 1857, завершил
изобретение телефона. Потом после десятилетия
в безрезультатных поисках
капиталов Meucci наконец возмещает расходы.
И с большим трудами получает
двухгодичный патент (1871) и представляет чертежи.
Italian-American hailed as phone inventor.
The US Congress has
recognised Antonio Meucci as the inventor of the telephone and not Alexander
Graham Bell. Mr Meucci developed his technology after discovering sounds
could travel through copper wire in the 1830s but could not afford the $250
for a definitive patent for his "talking telegraph".
instead filed a one-year renewable notice of an impending patent but could
not afford US$10 to renew it three years later. Mr Meucci sent a model and
details to the Western Union telegraph company before Mr Bell, who had
shared a laboratory with his Italian counterpart, filed a patent for a
telephone two years later.
Supreme Court had agreed to hear a case presented by Mr Meucci against Mr
Bell, with fraud charges initiated against the American, but the action was
stopped in 1889 when Mr Meucci died.
Hearing thorough wires: The Physiophony of Antonio Meucci
Antonio Meucci is the
forgotten and humble genius whose inventions precede every revolution in
communication arts which were achieved during this century. The time frame
during which his notable discoveries were made is a most remarkable
revelation. How Meucci developed his accidental discoveries into full scale
working systems is a true wonder in view of this time reference.
The culturing of
technology from the simple sparks of vision is a feat of its own distinct
kind. As the earliest chronicled inventor of telephonic arts he is justly
applauded as the true father of telephony by afficionadi who know his
wonderfully touching biography. But he invented far more than the telephone
with which we are familiar. Meucci discovered two separate telephonic
systems. His first and most astounding discovery is known as physiophony,
telephoning through the body...hearing through wires. His second development
was acoustic telephony, preceding every other legendary inventor in this art
by several decades.
telephones with electricity taken from the ground through special earth
batteries, and from the sky by using large surface area diodes to draw
static from the air. Eliminating the need for employing batteries in his
telephonic systems, Meucci first conceived of a transoceanic vocal
communication system. His notion was grand and achievable. Marconi later
employed methods pioneered by the forgotten Meucci.
He developed ferrites,
with which he constructed true audio transformers and loudspeaking
transceivers. He invented marine ranging and undersea communication systems.
His numerous achievements in chemical processing and industrial chemistry
are too numerous to mention in such a brief treatise. All of these wonders
were conceived and demonstrated well before 1857.
Sr. Meucci was a
prolific inventor, engineer, and practical chemist. Living in Florence, he
worked as a stage designer and technician in various theaters. Antonio
Meucci and his wife left Florence to flee the violence of the civil
insurrections which raged throughout Italy. Many immigrants who wished for a
peaceful life thought they might find some measure of solace in the New Land
which lay to the west.
Unhappily restricted by
law from entering The United States, persons such as Meucci and his family
chose the route into which most other Mediterraneans were forced at the
time. Being turned southward, they were literally compelled to dock in
Caribbean or South American ports. There sizable populations of European
immigrants remain to this day, legally restricted from North American
shores. Most found that their presence there was received with an acceptance
and warmth equal to a homecoming. It should have been in these lands that
their legacies were written.
New arrivals in Cuba,
the Meucci family made Havana their home. They found the warm and friendly
nation a place for new and wonderful opportunities. Sr. Meucci pursued
numerous experimental lines of research while living in Havana, developing a
new method for electroplating metals. This new art was applied to all sorts
of Cuban military equipment, Meucci gaining fame and recognition in Havana
as a scientific researcher and developer of new technologies.
electrical control systems were designed by him specifically for stage
production in the Teatro Tacon, the Havana Opera. Electrical rheostats
served the safe and controlled operation of enclosed carbon arclamps.
Mechanical contrivances hoisted, lowered, parted, and closed heavy curtains.
The automatic systems were a wonder to behold.
A young and dreamy
romantic, Meucci found the beauty of theater work quite entrancing and
inspirational. There, dreams became realities, if only for the short time
during which hardened pragmatism was suspended. Fantasy and wonder were
magickal liquids which perfumed the soul and opened the mind’s eyes. As in
childhood, one could receive the elevating epiphanies of revelation
necessary for discovering unexpected phenomena, and for developing
The decision to move to
Havana was indeed a good one. Genuine acceptance, and loving recognition
added joy the lives of the bittersweet exiles. Meucci’s wife was often
amused by his more outlandish inventive notions. But, as their stay in
Havana continued, she scolded that he had better develop something solidly
practical on which to "make a living".
A long time fascination
with physiological conditions and their electrical responses, Meucci was
prompted to begin study of electromedicine. With just such a practical view
in mind, he established and maintained an experimental electromedical
laboratory in backrooms of the Opera House. Investigating the art of
"electro-medicine", as popularly practiced throughout both Europe and the
Americas, Meucci investigated the curative abilities of electrical impulse.
Applying moderate electrical impulses from small induction coils to patients
in hope of alleviate illness, Meucci learned that precise control of both
the "strength and length" of electrical impulse held the true secret of the
As viewed by Meucci,
pain and certain physical conditions were treatable by these electrical
methods provided that very short impulses of insignificant voltage were
employed. Impulses of specific length and power were necessary to rid
suffering patients of their pain. In addition, Meucci imagined that tissue
and bone regeneration could be stimulated by such means.
What really intrigued
Sr. Meucci was the length of impulse time involved in body-applied
electricity. To this end, he developed special slide switches which were
capable of specifying the impulse length. It was possible to slide a zig-zag
contact surface over a fixed electrical source. By varying the spacings
between such slide contacts, Meucci could mechanically generate very short
Rheostats could also be
employed to control the current intensity. By the employment of these two
control features, he was able to apply the proper impulse "strength and
length". Meucci wished to chart a specific impulse series which would
neutralize each specific kind of pain or illness. Developing catalogues of
electrical impulse cures was his real aim. Such a technology, if developed
thoroughly, could arm medical practitioners with new curative powers.
Sr. Meucci applied
continual experimental effort toward these medical goals. He often applied
these same impulses to theater employees and stage artists alike. These
people came to regard such electric cures as definitive. Meucci’s method was
known to reverse conditions completely. He paid special attention to the
placement and size of electrodes on the body. Tiny point-contacts were often
held to the body at specific neural points, effecting their analgesic
effects. He was especially careful with "shock strength", applying only
millivolt surges to his patients. Pain could be gradually made to retreat by
the proper impulse administration.
Meucci had already
developed fine rheostatic tuners for limiting the output power of his
electrical device. He always applied the current to his own body in order to
give completely "measured" electro-treatments. In this manner he was able to
judge the parameters more personally and responsibly. It was his habit to
administer treatments of this kind to his ailing wife, Esther. Crippling
arthritis was becoming her personal prison, and Sr. Meucci wished to cure
her completely of the malady. Watching and praying through until the dawn,
Antonio struggled to perfect a means by which cures could be effected with
selective impulse articulation.
As with each of Meucci’s
developments, the fulfillment of his advanced medical ideas are found
throughout the early twentieth century. Each researcher in this field of
medical study employed very short impulses of controlled voltage to
alleviate a wide variety of maladies. Independently rediscovering the Meucci
electro-medical method throughout the early twentieth century were such
persons as Nikola Tesla, Dr. A. Abrams, G. Lahkovsky, Dr. T. Colson. Each
developed catalogues by which specific impulses were methodically directed
to cure their associate illness. Each researcher developed a method for
applying impulses of specifically controlled length and intensity to
suffering patients, effecting historical cures.
More recently, several
medical researchers have employed impulse generators to effect dramatic bone
and tissue regenerations. They affirm that human physiology responds with
rapidity when proper electroimpulses are applied to conditions of illness.
These were closely regarded by government officials, eager to regulate the
bureaucrats, fearing the elimination of their own pharmaceutical monopolies,
sought opportunity to eradicate these revolutionary electromedical arts.
Upton Sinclair obtained personal experience with these curative systems and
the physicians who devised these methodologies. He championed their cause in
numerous national publications with an aim toward exposing those who would
suppress their work.
Sinclair pointed out the
social revolution which would necessarily follow such discoveries. He was
quick to mention that proliferations of new technologies would not come
without a dramatic battle. Fought in the innermost boardrooms of intrigue,
Sinclair underestimated the ability of regulators to eradicate technologies
of social benefit.
This notable literary
personage wrote extensively on the work of Dr. Abrams, who was later
vilified by both the FDA and the AMA. An outlandish national purge quickly
mounted into a fullscale assault on these methods. But this is a story best
told in several other biographies. Meucci’s electromedical methods would
soon be transformed into a revolutionary means for communicating with others
at long distances.
The most central episode
of Meucci’s life now unfolded. It was to be a serendipity of the most
remarkable kind. Throughout his later years, Meucci recounted the following
story which occurred in 1849, when he was forty-one years of age. A certain
gentleman was suffering from an unbearable migraine headache. Since it was
known to many that Meucci’s electromedical methods possessed definite
curative ability, Sr. Meucci’s medical attention was sought.
Meucci placed the weak,
suffering man on a chair in a nearby room. His weakened condition inspired
an easy pity. Antonio had already felt the thorns of his beloved wife’s
pain. Her eyes, like the man before him now, begged for the cure which lay
hidden in mystery. Carefully, caringly, Antonio now sought to ease this
In this severe instance,
Meucci placed a small copper electrode in the patient’s mouth and asked him
to hold the other (a copper rod) in his hand. The electro-impulse device was
in an adjoining room. Meucci went into this room, placed an identical copper
electrode in his own mouth, and held the other copper electrode to find the
weakest possible impulse strength. Meucci told his patient to relax and to
expect pain relief momentarily, making small incremental adjustments on the
Migraines of severe
intensity characteristically produce equally severe reaction to the
slightest irritation. The man being now highly sensitive to pain, Meucci’s
insignificant (though stimulating) current impulses were felt. The patient,
anticipating some horrible shock, cried out in the other room with surprise
at the very first slight tickle.
forgot the hurtful sympathy which he naturally felt in assisting this poor
soul who sat across the hall. His focussed attention was suddenly diverted
as an astounding empathy manifested itself: he had actually "felt" the sound
of the man’s cry in his own mouth! After absorbing the surprise, he burst
into the adjoining room to see why the man had so yelled. Glad the poor
fellow had not run out on him, Meucci replaced the oral electrode of his
suffering patient and went into the other room to perform the same
adjustments...through closed doors this time. He asked the gentleman to talk
louder, while he himself again held the electrode in his mouth.
Once more, to his own
great shock, Meucci actually heard the distant voice "in his own mouth".
This vocalization was clear, distinct, and completely different from the
muffled voice heard through the doors. This was a true discovery. Here,
Antonio Meucci discovered what would later be known as the "electrophonic"
The phenomenon, later
known as physiophony, employs nerve responses to applied currents of very
specific nature. As the neural mechanism in the body employs impulses of
infinitesimal strengths, so Meucci had accidentally introduced similar
"conformant" currents. These conformant currents contained auditory signals:
sounds. The strange method of "hearing through the body" bypassed the ears
completely and resounded throughout the delicate tissues of the contact
point. In this case, it was the delicate tissues of the mouth.
Each expressed their
thanks to the other, and the relieved patient went home. The impulse cure
had managed to "break up" the migraine condition. Meucci’s reward was not
monetary. It was found in a miraculous accident; the transmission of the
human voice along a charged wire. In these several little experiments,
Meucci had determined and defined the future history of all telephonic arts.
Excited and elated
Antonio asked certain friends to indulge his patience with similar
experiments. He gave individual oral electrodes to each and asked that his
friends each speak or yell. Meucci, seated behind a sealed door, touched his
electrode to the corner of his mouth. As each person spoke or yelled, Meucci
clearly heard speech again. Internal sound reception in the very tissues of
the mouth. An astounding discovery.
Meucci’s most notable discovery in telephonics is physiophony. Meucci did
not foresee this strange and wonderful discovery. Think of it. Hearing
without the ears. Hearing through the nerves directly! The implications are
just as enormous as the possible applications. Would it be possible for deaf
persons to hear sound once again? Meucci knew it was possible.
His first series of new
experiments would seek improvement of the electrophonic effect. To this end
Meucci designed a preliminary set of paired electrodes. The appearance of
these devices was strange to both the people of his time and those of own.
Each device was made of small cork cylinders fitted with smooth copper
discs. Designed as personalized transmitters, each person was to place their
own transmitter directly in the mouth! The other electrode was to be
Meucci verified the
physiophonic phenomenon repeatedly. Upon experiencing the now-famed effect,
visitors were awed. Furthermore, it was possible to greatly extend the line
length to many hundreds of feet and yet "hear" sounds. The sounds were
clearly heard "in the nerves" with a very small applied voltage. Sounds were
being deliberately transmitted along charged wires for the first recorded
time in modern history.
The auditory organs were
not in any way involved. Meucci discovered that oral vibrations were varying
the resistance of the circuit: oral muscles were vibrating the current
supply. Spoken sounds were reproduced as a vibrating electric current in the
charged line which can be sensed and "heard" in the nerveworks and muscular
With very great care for
obvious injuries, it is possible to reproduce these remarkable results to
satisfaction. The voltages must be infinitesimal. When properly conducted
through the tissues, sounds are heard near the contact point the body. No
doubt, the impulsed signal reproduces identical audio contractions in
sensitive tissues. This is one source of the sounds internally "heard".
Nerves actually form the greater channel when impulses are arranged
properly, directly transmitting their auditory contents without the inner
Physiophony is Meucci’s
greatest discovery, one which he should have pursued before also developing
mere acoustic telephony. Twenty-five years later in America, an elated
Elisha Gray would rediscover the physiophonic phenomenon. He would develop
physiophony into a major scientific theme. Long after this time, these
identical experimental demonstrations conspicuously appear in Bell’s
letters; copying the identical experiments taken first from Meucci, then
from Gray, and Reis.
During the early
twentieth century, music halls for deaf persons were once found in certain
metropolitan centers. These recital halls enabled nerve-deaf persons to hear
music through handheld electrodes. Modifying the appliances in order to
allow considerable freedom of movement, several such places allowed deaf
people to dance. Holding the small copper rods, wired to a network on the
ceiling, musical sounds and rhythms could be felt and heard directly.
Physiophony, more recently termed "neurophony" holds the secret of a new
technology. Physiophony, rediscovered of late, facilitates hearing in those
afflicted with nerve-deafness.
Meucci discovered two
distinct forms of vocal communication: physiophony and acoustic telephony.
Meucci’s next experiments dealt with the development of a means for
separating the physiophonic action from the human body entirely. He
developed working systems to serve each of these modes, with primary
emphasis on acoustic telephony. Replacing tissues of the mouth with a
separate vibrating medium required extending the cork-fixed electrodes.
Meucci coiled thin and
flexible copper wire so that it could freely vibrate in a heavy paper cone.
Once more, Meucci varied the experiment. This time his own oral electrode
would be enclosed in a heavy paper cone. Again each subject was asked to
talk into the first cone-encased electrode as Meucci listened at the other
terminal. Each time, speech was heard as vibrating air. This was his first
Meucci wrote up all
these findings in 1849...when Alexander Graham Bell was just 2 years old.
Living in Havana at the time, Meucci conceived of the first telephonic
system. He imagined that American industry would allow infinite production
of his new technology. A telephonic system would revolutionize any nation
which engineered its proliferation.
Freedom doors were not
swung open in wide and unconditional welcome for Europeans during the latter
1800’s. Strict immigration laws forbade Europeans from even entering New
York Harbor. It was more difficult, if not impossible, to find employment.
New arrivals in America faced difficult, almost inhuman conditions. No
support systems existed in the land of free-enterprise. No catch-nets for
failed attempts in the land of the free.
True and unresisted
freedom was reserved only for the upper class, who had already begun
regulating and eliminating their possible competitors. Every means by which
that prized upper position might be usurped was destroyed. Forgotten
discoveries and inventions flowed like blood under the heavy arm of the
The "New World" was not
anxious to welcome these people. Discrimination against European immigrants
went unbridled, unrepresented, and unchallenged. When American doors finally
did open, there were no sureties for those who came to work and live in the
New World. There was no promise, no meal, no housing, no job, no emergency
support. To be in America meant to be on your own in America.
Prejudice against the
"foreigners" was vicious during this time period. Immigrants who imagined a
better life to the northlands would be sadly disappointed at first. Many of
these newcomers preferred the temporary pain of atrocious city ghettoes
simply because their eyes were on the future.
Europeans arriving in
America came with trades and skills. Master craftsmen and technicians in
their Old World guilds, these "unwelcomed" eventually won the hardened
industrial establishment with their good works, many of them later forming
the real core of American Industry. It is not accidental that Thomas Edison
hired European craftsmen exclusively. In less than two generations the
children of these brave individuals became leaders of their professions,
giving the leukemic nation its periodically required red blood.
despised the newcomers, who were regarded first with dread, then with
resentment, and finally with a firm resolve. After ruthless campaigns by
bureaucrats and moguls to eliminate the foreign presence in North America,
wealthy puritanical antagonists sought the supposed surety of legislation to
achieve elitist isolation. Neither cultivated nor creative, this ability to
manipulate the tools of liberty for the sake of domination became a theme
which continually stains their history. The unbridled and impassioned
expansionism of these "foreign people" was so threatening to the impotent
bureaucrats that legislation was installed for the expressed purpose of
limiting their unstoppable movement. Sure that these were in fact the feared
usurpers of a young and recently consolidated Republic, financiers impelled
legislators to create a "middle class" economic stratum which has remained
in force to this very day.
Bound to a life of
tireless work and taxations, the children of immigrants no longer question
the barriers to limitless personal achievement. While a very few wonder why
their frustrations rarely allow escape into the true individual freedom of
which America boasts, most simply satisfy themselves with banal consumer
"American" explosion in music, art, crafts, and technological arts followed
the immigrants wherever they were forced to flee. When Antonio and Esther
Meucci arrived in New York City, he was now forty-two. They made their home
near Clifton, Staten Island.
Clifton was once a
picturesque little town, nestled on a rocky ridge and surrounded by babbling
brooks and lush forests. The year was 1850. The Meucci’s acquired a large
and spacious house, filled with windows. Golden bright sunlight flooded the
home in which Antonio devised the technology of the future. The rooms
contained numerous pieces of striking art nouveau furniture which Meucci
himself handcrafted. A beautiful four octave piano and several of these
furniture pieces yet remain, the house itself having been declared a
His poor wife, now
crippled completely, was confined to their second floor bedroom. It was
there in Old Clifton that Sr. Meucci developed his "teletrofono". The device
was successively redesigned and improved until several distinct and original
models emerged. Mundane needs being the primary necessity, Meucci developed
a chemical formula for making special chemically formulated candles and
opened a small factory for their production. His smokeless candles earned a
moderate income by which the small family could maintain their place in the
New World. Throughout the long years to come, he also supported countless
others who were in need.
He patented this
smokeless candle formula, along with several other chemical processes
related to his small industry. Soon, Antonio found that his candles were
sought by neighbors, parish churches, and small general stores. He therefore
took his devotions, and went into production of the same. Marketing the
product locally, he was now again able to supply his experimental facility.
This was his encouragement. The inventions began flowing again like rich red
Meucci installed a small
teletrofonic system in his Clifton house, as he had done in Havana. Esther
Meucci was now completely crippled with arthritis. Connecting his wife’s
room to his small candle factory, Antonio could now speak throughout the day
with his wife. The system lines were loosely wrapped up and around staircase
banisters, through halls, across walls, and finally spanned the long
distance to the factory building, naturally running slack in several
Meucci made sure that
the lines did not run tight in order to prevent wire stretching and cracking
during winter seasons. In every model aspect, Meucci’s system was the
prototype. Everyone of his surrounding neighbors had become personally
familiar with his system, having been allowed to try "speaking over the
Meucci and his wife took
boarders from time to time in order to afford minimum luxuries...the
luxuries of ordinary people. When Garibaldi was exiled from Italy as an
insurrectionist, he sought out Meucci. A small factory was established near
his home for the manufacture of his chemically treated candles.
With this, his sole and
sturdy financial source, Meucci continued his other beloved experiments. He
had already established and regularly used several teletrofonic systems
throughout his home and factory by 1852. Both he and Garibaldi walked,
hunted, and fished in the lush greenery and flowing flowered hills of old
Dutch Staten Island.
Each new teletrofonic
design eventually was added to a growing collection box in the timber lined
cellar. Improved models were made and brought into the general use of his
system. With these modified devices it was effortless to communicate with
his ailing wife, employees, and friends. Distances posed no problem for
Meucci. His system could bring sound to any location. Numerous credible
witnesses actually used his remarkably extensive telephonic system across
the neighborhood. One such highly credible witness was Giuseppe Garibaldi
Garibaldi was welcomed
to live with the Meucci family in their modest Staten Island home for as
long as he wished. Garibaldi, Meucci, and his wife vanquished sorrow and
poverty with faith, hope, and love expressed in a myriad of ways. Each
supported the other in the struggle against indignity, accusation, outrage,
and all the particular little alienations imposed upon them. The Meucci
household not unaccustomed to the deprivations through which character is
Both Srs. Meucci and
Garibaldi continued manufacturing candles and other such products of
commercial value, supporting themselves and the needs of others in the new
land. Frequent financial crisis never deterred his dream quest. Never did
such reversals place a halt on Meucci’s laboratory experimentation or any of
his devoted attentions.
As it happens in the
course of time, new changes bring fresh opportunities and joys to lift tired
hearts. The sun rose in the little windows after a long winter’s dream. An
old friend from Havana came to visit Meucci and his wife. Carlos Pader
wished to know whether Meucci had continued experimenting with his now
Pader was shown the
results, but Antonio confessed the need for new materials. Both Sr. Pader
and another friend, Gaetano Negretti, informed their friend Antonio that
there was an excellent manufacturer of telegraphic instruments on Centre
Street in Manhatten. And so, Sr. Meucci was introduced to a certain Mr.
Chester, a maker of telegraphic instruments.
Mr. Chester was an
enthusiastic and friendly tradesmen. He enjoyed speaking with Antonio. The
two shared their technical skills in broken dialects. Meucci was always
welcomed there on Centre Street. Meucci visited this establishment on
several occasions to purchase parts and observe the latest telegraphic arts.
It was here that Meucci "gained new knowledge". He set to work, purchasing
materials for new experiments. New and improved teletrofonic models began
appearing in the neighborhood.
Meucci was methodical,
thorough, and attentive to the unfolding details of his experiments. Meucci
kept meticulous notes; a feature which later worked to vindicate his honor.
He worked incessantly on a single device before making any new design
modifications. Meucci’s creative talent and familiarity with materials
allowed him to recognize and anticipate the inventive "next move". In
observational acuity, inventive skill, and development of practical products
he was unmatched.
Thomas Edison, after
him, most nearly imitated Meucci’s methods. Meucci searched by trial and
error at times when reason alone brought no fruit. It was, after all, an
accident which revealed the teletrofonic principles to him. Providence
itself in action.
explored different means for vibrating electric current with speech. From
1850 to 1862 he developed over 30 different models, with twelve distinct
variations. His first models utilized the vibrating copper loop principle
which he discovered in Havana. Paper cones were replaced with tin cylinders
to increase the resonant ring. He experimented with thin animal membranes,
set into vibration by contact with the vibrating copper strip. This model
begins to resemble the familiar form of the telephone as we know it.
Meucci wrapped fine
electromagnetic bobbins around his copper electrodes, increasing vocal
amplitudes considerably. In a second series, he explored the use of magnetic
vibrators. A great variety of loops, coils, soft-iron bars, and iron
horseshoes appear in Meucci’s successive designs. These latter models gave
amazingly loud results. In addition, Meucci’s diagrams reveal
experimentation with both separate and "in-line" copper diaphragms. These
latter operated by the yet to be discovered "Hall Effect", where
current-carrying conductors vibrate more strongly in magnetic fields
produced by their own currents.
While power for his
early teletrofonic system was derived from large wet cell batteries in the
basement, Meucci made a pivotal discovery, discovered when he grounded his
lines with large dissimilar metal plates. Suddenly, his system operated as
if large batteries had been added to the line. Meucci disconnected the
basement batteries and the system continued to operate, powered by ground
This use of buried
dissimilar plates repeatedly appears throughout early telegraphic patents.
The actual devices by which this astounding electrification of lines was
established were called "earth batteries". Several significant individuals
made remarkable discoveries while developing earth batteries throughout the
latter 1800’s. They found that the earth batteries were not really
generating the power at all.
Earth batteries tap into
earth electricity and draw it out for use. Some telegraphic lines continue
to operate well into the 1930’s with no other batteries than their ground
endplates. Certain systems continued using their original earth batteries
without replacement in excess of 40 years!
Earth batteries are
intriguing because they seem never to corrode in proportion to the amount of
electrical power which they generate. In fact, they scarcely corrode at all.
Exhumed earth batteries showed minimal corrosion. A mysterious
self-regenerative action takes place in these batteries, a phenomenon worthy
of modern study.
Like Thomas Edison after
him, Meucci was a master of practical chemistry. Numerous of his processes
remain unused to this day. He developed strange chemical coatings; using
saltwater, graphite, soapstone, wax, muriatic acid, asbestos, sulfur, and
various bonding resins to treat wire conductors. Wire lines, specially
treated by Meucci, had current rectifying abilities. These absorbed and
directed both terrestrial and aerial electricity into the line, a one-way
charge valve. Technically what he created is a large surface area diode.
When these specially
coated wires were elevated, Meucci enhanced the absorption of "atmospheric
electricity" into his system. Prevented from escape by chemical coatings, a
steady stream of aerial charges were absorbed into the wire line. He
succeeded in powerfully operating his system with "aerial electricity"
Meucci now freely used
aerial and earth electricity to power his teletrofonic system. In addition,
he discovered that the latent power in strong permanent magnets could
amplify speech with very great power. When coupled with energy derived from
the ground, Meucci found that true amplifications could be effected. Meucci
found that vocal force being sufficiently powerful to produced amplified
reproductions at great distances in certain of his models which utilized
iron cores were replaced with lodestone and surrounded by various powdered
core composites developed in Meucci’s laboratory. Lodestones, surrounded
with cores of flour-fine iron powders, produced enormous outputs. Meucci
used exceedingly fine copper windings. The vocal range of these magnetic
responders was considerable when made in Meucci’s own unique design.
Clear, velvety speech
was communicated with great power in these fine-powder core designs. His use
of flour-fine magnetite powders produced the world’s first ferrites;
composites of iron, zinc, and manganese later used in radiowave
His teletrofoni were now
fully formed, handheld devices of some weight. Surviving models from his
system resemble those much later manufactured by Bell telephone. They are
cup-shaped, wooden casings...handheld transmitter-receivers. One speaks into
the device, and then listens from the same for replies. Meucci’s diagrams,
notebooks, and models prove his priority over all the historically
successive telephone designs.
In addition, Meucci used
diaphragms which conducted the current which vocalizations could modulate.
He developed remarkable graphite-salt coatings to enhance the electrical
conductivity of his responder diaphragms, preceding Edison’s carbon button
microphone by a full 24 years!
In addition to his
existing system, Meucci conceived of entirely new directions in
communication arts. His mind turned toward the sea...and to transoceanic
teletrofonic communication. Meucci tested the idea that seawater could
actually replace telegraph cables, bizarre as it must yet sound. His notion
would be termed "subaqueous conduction wireless". Others had achieved
moderate results across limited waterways. Sommering, Lindsay, and Morse
each sent weak telegraph signals across streams. Meucci envisioned the whole
Atlantic as a possible reservoir for the transmission of telephonic signals.
His experiments took him
down to the Staten Island seashore with his teletrofono, batteries, and
large plates of both copper and zinc. The dissimilar metal plates were
submerged quite a distance from each other. Vocal messages spoken into the
sea were electrically retrieved by a teletrofonic apparatus connected to an
equivalent arrangement of widely separated, water-immersed plates on an
opposed part of the distant shore. The signals were clearly heard.
Most engineers will
object that these experiments could not sustain vocal communications across
great distances. They will say this because transmitter power should be so
dispersed that no intelligible signal could ever be retrieved. The
experiment having been tried across short distances actually works. The most
amazing rediscovery concerns the signal-regenerative ability of seawater.
Seawater requires only an infinitesimal transmitter current in order to
achieve strong signal exchanges.
The submerged plates
themselves generate sufficient current to operate the teletrofonic system
without batteries. Electrical signals do not diminish in seawater as
theoretically expected. When Meucci spoke of transoceanic communications he
was not exaggerating. Seawater seems to be a self-regenerative amplifier of
sorts. The addition of a carrier frequency (an electrical buzzer) would
pitch the signals toward a higher range, granting more signal focus.
Sir William Preece
duplicated these experiments for telegraphy across the English Channel in
the early 1900’s. Their developing success was eclipsed by the appearance of
aerial wireless. Some researchers have interpreted the work of G. Marconi to
be a blend of Meucci conduction telegraphy and aerial wireless. While
purists protest, it is intriguing that Marconi would later actually resort
to mile-long submerged copper screens for transoceanic communications. The
submerged copper screens acted as a "capacitative counterpoise", following
his equally long aerials...out to sea.
Several segments of
these Marconi aerial-screen systems have been located by investigators, both
in New Brunswick (N. Jersey) and in Bolinas (California). The Marconi
"bent-L" aerial system differs from Meucci’s design only in that it utilized
several hundred thousand watts of VLF currents. In effect, Marconi employed
Meucci conduction wireless in his early transoceanic systems.
Meucci became prolific
when designing these maritime inventions. It was told him that a certain
deep-sea diver, having once distinctly heard a steamship engine while
performing a salvage operation, was told (on resurfacing) that the ship was
fully forty miles away! This phenomenon so impressed Meucci that his mind
turned toward the use of his teletrofono in deep-sea communications and
His notion was truly
original, involving this submerged plate system for wireless vocal
communication. The use of short aerial rods projecting from the diver’s
helmet formed the very first "aerials". Divers could maintain communications
with their surface companions without interruption if such teletrofonic
aerials and internally housed responders were installed in their helmets.
Sealed aerial rods (one foot or less in length) would protrude out from the
helmet, forming the wireless link; an invention truly worthy of Jules Verne!
Transmissions and receptions would occur through the remarkable
conductive-regenerative ability of seawater to conduct electro-vocal
Of chief concern in
Meucci’s mind was the establishment of solid maritime wireless
communications systems. He designed several systems intended to aid harbor
approach and navigation during times of limited visibility. Clusters of
tone-transmitters (positioned as fixed stations or anchored as buoys) could
wirelessly communicate danger or safety to sea captains equipped with
onboard listening devices. Both landmark stations and onboard responders
would communicate through seawater with submerged metal plates. These plates
would be fixed in position at some depth; much below each landmark and right
under the ship hull.
Navigators would be
guided into safe harbor by following a specific tonal signal, and avoiding
the selected danger tones. These tones would be subaqueous
transmissions...true tonal beacons. Navigators were to carefully listen for
guide-tones while entering a harbor. Pilots could locate their offshore
position with precision by simply listening for the designated subaqueous
Position could be
triangulated by comparing tones and their relative volumes. Tones could be
determined by comparison with a small on-board receiver containing tuning
forks. Maps could mark these tonal-stations and pilots could rely on their
presence. Meucci wished to eradicate the blinding dangers of fog and storm
for sailors. Meucci accurately foresaw that an entire corps of maintenance
operators would find continual employment in such worthy service.
In all of this, Meucci
actually anticipated the LORAN system by a full seventy-five years! In the
years before radio pierced the night isolation of shipping, ships maintained
tight commonly used sea-lanes when far from coastlands. Mid-oceanic
collisions were not uncommon. Meucci conceived of systems by which ships
could transmit warning beacons toward one another while out at sea. Helping
to avoid such mid-ocean disasters, sensitive compass needles would detect
passing ships. Plate-pairs would be poised beneath the ship’s hull in the
four cardinal directions. Relays could detect ships, responding with loud
In addition, ships could
launch teletrofonic currents in the direction of specific approaching or
passing ships, establish continual vocal contact. Meucci accurately foresaw
the development of new maritime communications corps, anticipating those
wireless operators who would later be called "sparks" by their crew mates.
Lack of funding alone
prevented Meucci from making large scale demonstrations of his revolutionary
systems. In addition, prejudices associated with his nationality prevented
New York financiers from even knowing of his activities. Meucci turned to
his own patriots for help.
Confident in the both
the originality and diversity of his teletrofonic inventions, Meucci was now
sure that he could convince Italian financiers to help commercialize the
Teletrofonic System; not in America, but in Italy. Meucci (now fifty-two
years old) set up a long distance demonstration of his system in 1860 in
which a famous Italian operatic singer was featured. His songs being
transmitted across several miles of line, Meucci attracted considerable
attention. Featured in the Italian newspapers around New York City, he
indeed attracted the attentions of financiers.
Sr. Bendelari, one such
impresario, suggested that full scale production of the teletrofonic system
begin in Italy. He travelled to Italy with drawings and explanations of what
he had seen and heard. Contrary to the hopes of all, Sr. Bendelari found it
impossible to interest financiers in the teletrofonic system. Civil wars
distracted the ordinarily aggressive Italian development of all such new
Italian production of
the teletrofono having never begun, Meucci became extremely embittered over
both the incident and his own circumstance in America. American financiers
were no better. Most contemporary Americans who had any "practical financial
sense" at all could not believe that any mechanical device could actually
transmit the human voice. They were far less interested in investing their
fortunes toward developing systems which they considered fraudulent.
On sound advice from
sympathetic compatriots, Meucci was warned never to bring anything to the
American industrial concerns without first protecting himself by legal
means. Before Meucci could dare bring his models the short ferry trip to
Lower Manhattan to the developers, he needed a patent. Patents have never
been cheap to obtain, this the regulator’s tool. Even in those days, a
patent cost a full two-hundred and fifty dollars.
Exorbitant costs being
established for the financier’s benefit, no independent inventor-novice
could ever become an independently successful competitor without "financial
Meucci settled the
matter by obtaining a caveat, a legal document which was considerably
cheaper than the patent. Antonio could now only afford a caveat, a legal
declaration of a successfully developed invention.
The caveat describes an
invention and shows the time-fixed priority of an inventor’s work. Meucci
had models as well as the legal caveat. His caveat would stand in court,
bearing the official seal, a registry number, and the signatures of
witnesses. The Meucci caveat was taken in 1871, when he was 63 years old.
While travelling from
Manhattan to Staten Island, Meucci was nearly killed when the steam engine
of the ferry exploded. He survived this explosion in some inexplicable
miracle, severely burned and crippled. While he languished in a hospital
bed, his wife sold his original teletrofono models for the small sum of six
dollars in order to pay for his expenses.
These models were sold
to one John Fleming of Clifton, a secondhand dealer. Attempting to
repurchase these models, he was informed that a "young man" had secured the
models. Unable to locate the purchaser, Meucci was devastated. He suddenly
felt that his own creation was already taking on a life of its own...fleeing
away from him, out of control.
Growing desperate with
thoughts of his own growing age and poor condition, Meucci now pursued the
issue of commercializing his invention without restraint. In 1874 Meucci met
with a vice-president of the Western Union District Telegraph Company, a
certain W.B. Grant. Meucci described his "talking telegraph" and the
complete system which was now operational. Meucci requested a test of his
teletrofoni on one of the Telegraph Lines and was promised assistance and
Mr. Grant appeared in
earnest, engaged Meucci for a long while, and requested Meucci to leave his
models. Meucci did so, being encouraged that he would be contacted very
shortly for the test run. Hours of waiting became days. At this point,
Meucci attempted to contact Grant again. The vice president could "never be
found". Meucci continued visiting Western Union in hopes of reaching Grant
and performing the required long-distance tests as promised him originally.
Meucci became bitterly
angry over this betrayal of trust. The duplicity involved in the act of such
unprofessional denial so exposed the fundamental methodology of American
business that he wondered why he had ever left Cuba. So infuriated was he
that he maintained a vigil at the Union Office, becoming an annoying
eyesore. White haired, bearded, and bowed over with age, Meucci was viewed
as a harmless old fool by younger, more aggressive office workers.
Adamant to the last,
Meucci finally and loudly demanded the return of his every model. He was
then very curtly informed that they "had been lost". Grant had passed these
devices onto Henry W. Pope for his professional opinion on the exact working
of the devices, forgetting the issue completely in the course of a business
day. The monopoly had beaten another victim. He stormed out.
The path which the
Meucci models took inside Western Union has been traced. The models
periodically kept appearing and disappearing in the electrical research labs
of Western Union, revealed through the written studies of several curious
individuals. The models were transferred among several engineers as
successive new electrical directors were installed. Each examined the models
in complete ignorance. Lacking introductory explanations, no one
comprehended what the weighty wooden cups could do when electrified.
Franklin L. Pope, friend
and partner with young Thomas Edison at the time, was given the models by
his brother. Together Pope and George Prescott could not understand the
nature of the devices, putting them into a storage area in Western Union.
This seems to be the last mysterious repository of Meucci models. Given in
trust years before, the models sat in the dustbins of Western Union. Lost
The true history of
telephonics begins with Meucci. Others, far younger, were raised in an
atmosphere which was enriched by Meucci’s developments. Phillip Reis noted
the telephonic abilities of loosely positioned carbon rods through which
flowed electrical currents. His primitive carbon microphone was later stolen
by a vengeful Edison, who was in search of some means for both "breaking"
the Bell Company’s hold on telephonics, and saving his own financial record
with Western Union Telegraph.
Meucci led the way long
before others. It must be mentioned that both Gray and Reis were independent
and equally great discoverers who each, though antedating Meucci by some 20
years, actually predated Bell by at least 10 years. Some have suggested
that, as Bell was encountering great difficulty in developing his own
telephonic apparatus, these same models were given to him for the expressed
purpose of speeding the race along.
Western Union would
engage Edison to "bust" the Bell patent in later years. Edison’s invention
of the carbon button telephonic transmitter was an inadvertent infringement
of Meucci’s earliest responder designs. The industrialization of the
telephone revealed the repetitious and convoluted infringement of Meucci’s
every system-related invention. Bell’s own frantic rush to develop telephony
had more to do with his need to "live up to" sizable investment monies given
him for this research, and less with any true inventive abilities. The truth
of this is borne out in considering Bell’s later work, involved in his
frivolous failed "kite developments". Indeed, without the fortunate
"assistance" by friends at the Patent Office, Bell would have succeeded in
neither defeating Meucci’s caveat nor Gray’s electro-harmonic patent.
Those who wished the
implementation of telephony for financial gain, chose more controllable and
less passionate individuals. Neither Meucci, Gray, nor Reis fit this
category of choice. The Bell designs are obvious and direct copies of those
long previously made by Meucci. The dubious manner in which the Bell patents
were "handled and secured" speak more of "financial sleight of hand" than
true inventive genius. The all too obvious manipulations behind the patent
office desk are revealed in the historically pale claim that Bell secured
his patent "15 minutes" before Gray applied for his caveat. Today it is not
doubted whether perpetrators of such an arrogance would not go as far as to
claim "15 years priority".
Lastly, this fraudulent
action denied the years-previous Caveat of Meucci, which "could never be
found at all in the patent records" during later trial proceedings. No mind.
Meucci is a legend. A name suffused by mysteries. The Meucci caveat remains
to this day on public record. All subsequent telephone patents are invalid.
Meucci bears legal first-right. No lawyer today will decline this recorded
All other court actions
taken against Meucci toward the end of his life was staged by both the
corporate Telephone Companies and the Court itself for the expressed purpose
of securing the communications monopoly. The complete and operational Meucci
Telephonic System, witnessed and used by countless visitors and neighbors
for equally numerous years before Bell, was well documented in both Italian
and local papers of the day.
To read the transcript
of the Meucci court battle waged around the now aged and infirm Meucci is to
witness the fear which large megaliths sustain. Though Meucci was not able
to afford the yearly renewal price of his caveat, his priority was damaging,
otherwise they would not have taken such measures to examine him publicly.
The Bell Company sought to minimize Meucci’s system by calling it nothing
more than an elaborate "string telephone" in court proceedings, exposing
themselves on several counts of fraud. Scientifically, this line of defense
was unfounded. The obviously slack lines made the Meucci System incapable of
conducting merely elastic vibrations with such clarity and amplitude.
Moreover, the velvety rich tones received through these devices were far too
modified, clarified, and loud to be "mere mechanical transmissions".
It was then hoped that
the elderly gentleman would desist the entire crude process and give up.
Meucci was publicly and ethnically labelled by leading journalists as "that
old Italian, that old...candlemaker". Meucci maintained his ground to the
consternation of the prosecuting attorney. Priority of diagrams, witnesses,
working models...nothing could satisfy the predetermined judgement of the
To add insult to injury,
Meucci’s character was vilified in the press. In numerous pro-corporate
newspaper articles Meucci is referred to as "a villain...a liar...an old
fool". Predetermined to satisfy the corporate megalith, a deliberate and
shameful court examination had as its aim the eradication of Meucci and his
claim of priority. This process would later become the normal mode of
business operation when destroying competitive technologies. With no hope of
financial reprise in sight, Meucci ceased the excessive court fees. This was
precisely what the monopoly wished. The fact yet remains that Meucci was
first to invent the system.
Throughout the years,
Meucci’s name was not even mentioned in the history of telephonics. Closer
evaluation of this true social phenomenon in "information control" reveals
that communications history sources were controlled and principally provided
in later years by Bell Labs to school text companies. They would ensure that
the otherwise complex story was "straightened out".
It is also obvious that
Meucci and his countrymen were never truly "embraced" by the American
establishment until they took deliberate action. To the very end of his
life, Meucci simply and elegantly maintained his serene statements in
absolute confidence of the truth which was his own. "The telephone, which I
invented and which I first made known...was stolen from me".
The more important fact
in these matters of intrigue is recognizing that discovery itself is no
respecter of persons or indeed of nations. Discovery touches those who honor
its revelations. Discovery is an inspiring ray whose tracings are never
limited by laws, prejudices, unbelief, nation, ethnic group, or economic
Eager to maintain their
ascendancy in the annals of corporate America, incredible odds were
marshalled against the aged Meucci by The Bell Company. In this determined
counsel, we see the singular insecurity which frightens all secure
investments. In truth, no investment is ever secure, when once discovery is
loosed on the earth. What corporations have always feared is discovery
itself. It is an unknown. In attempts to capture discoveries before they
have time to take root and grow, every corporate megalith employs patent
researchers. Their job is to waylay new company-threatening inventions.
Inventors represent the
true unknown. They are uncontrolled forces who truly hold the power of the
economic system in their grasp. Were it not so, then corporate predators
would not pursue them with such deliberate vehemence. No one can destroy an
idea once it has made its appearance on earth. Discovery is neither
controlled or eradicated by the powerful. Attempts at wiping out new
technology mysteriously result in a thousand diversified echoes, moving in a
thousand places simultaneously.
The biography of Antonio
Meucci is suffused with the deepest of emotions. I have read the biographies
of many great and forgotten science legends, yet have not found one whose
pathos completely equals that of Meucci. Despite the manner in which the new
world treated him, the dignity of this great inventor is silently mirrored
in his every portrait. The face of Antonio Meucci is serene...the face of a
Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret": Elisha
Gray was real