On March 4 – birthday of microphone

On March 4 – birthday of microphone

Today without a microphone it is difficult to imagine many achievements of civilisation, after all distribution of multimedia technologies inseparably is linked with a problem of transfer of great volumes of information, including sound, to considerable distances. We will tell a little about stories of occurrence of this device.

144 years back on March 4, 1877, inventor Emile Berliner introduced what many consider the first modern microphone. Berliner, an American of German origin, was known, first of all, for his invention of record player and gramophone records which he got patented the same year.

However all was not so simple. A year before it Alexander Bell also created a microphone which was called, in fact, the liquid transmitter. The liquid transmitter was presented at the Philadelphian exhibition devoted to the century anniversary of the American Revolution.

There he was seen also by Berliner and decided that he could make the device not worse. Berliner managed to clear and strengthen transmitted sounds and invented, thus, the original telephone transmitter with loose contact which was named a microphone.

Thanks to improvements of Berliner, the phone ceased to be simply a technical novelty and became the communication effective means, capable to transmit sounds to the big distances.

When Bell learnt about a microphone, he started to have legal proceedings with Berliner, but the court unexpectedly took the side of Berliner. Then Bell decided to go some other way – the patent which was given to Berliner, was redeemed for 50 thousand dollars, and the inventor was employed by Bell Telephone Company for the constant salary as the chief specialist on the telephone technics.

But actually this history began even earlier. Though the word “microphone” was not used till the 19th century, to the English physicist and inventor Robert Hooke was attributed development in 1665 of acoustic phone in the form of a cup and a string, and he is considered the pioneer in the field of sound transmission to distances.

Sir Charles Wheatstone was the first person to think up a phrase “microphone”. The famous English physicist and inventor Wheatstone is known first of all for invention of telegraph. His interests were various, and he devoted a part of time to acoustics study in 1820. Wheatstone was one of the first scientists to have officially recognised that the sound is «transferred by waves in medium».

This knowledge led to his study of ways of transfer of sounds from one place to another even to the big distances. He worked over the device which could strengthen weak sounds which he named a microphone in 1827.

In due course and development of scientific thought there was a constant modernisation and microphone devices. In 2000 microphones MEMS (micro electromechanical systems) started to get into portable devices, including cellular telephones, sets and laptops. The tendency to creation of tiny microphones proceeds in such applications, as portable devices, the smart house and automobile technologies.