Reis telephone transmitter, 1863

Made:
1863 in Frankfurt am Main
designer:
Philipp Reis

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Buy this image as a print 

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

Transmitter, part of Reis telephone made in 1863. Three quarter front view of object on graduated grey background. From
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Transmitter, part of Reis telephone made in 1863. Oblique three quarter front view of object on graduated grey
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Transmitter, part of Reis telephone made in 1863. Three quarter front view of object with lid open on graduated grey
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Reis telephone transmitter, made by J W Arnold, Frankfurt, Germany, 1863.

This object represents the final form of the several designs of 'telephon' apparatus designed by Philipp Reis (1834-1874) between 1860 and 1863, and made for him by the precision engineers J W Albert. The transmitter used a membrane with a loose microphonic contact arranged between platinum points in the centre - the sound waves caused the membrane to vibrate, and this movement varied the electrical current that passed through the metal contacts. These were of the 'make and break' type and could not transmit true 'undulatory' current except when out of adjustment. Reports from the time prove that Reis succeeded in transmitting fragments of speech and musical tones, but the apparatus he designed was too inefficient for practical use without further development, which Reis didn't undertake.

On display

Science Museum: Information Age Gallery: Exchange

If you are visiting to see this object, please contact us in advance to make sure that it will be on display.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1923-273 Pt1
Materials:
brass (copper, zinc alloy), copper (metal), steel (metal), wood (unidentified)
type:
telephone component
taxonomy:
  • component - object
  • telephone
credit:
Institution of Electrical Engineers

Cite this page

Rights

We encourage the use and reuse of our collection data.


Data in the title, made, maker and details fields are released under Creative Commons Zero


Descriptions and all other text content are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence

Using our data

Download

Download catalogue entry as json

Download manifest IIIF

Our records are constantly being enhanced and improved, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information shown on this website.