A second distinction between the two telephones is this: With the Bell apparatus the very weak electric impulses generated by the vibration of the transmitting diaphragm pass over the entire line to the receiving end, and, in consequence, the possible length of line is limited to a few miles, even under ideal conditions. With Edison's telephone the battery current does not flow on the main line, but passes through the primary circuit of an induction-coil, from the secondary of which corresponding impulses of enormously higher potential are sent out on the main line to the receiving end. In consequence, the line may be hundreds of miles in length. No modern telephone system is in use to-day that does not use these characteristic features: the varying resistance and the induction-coil. The system inaugurated by Edison is shown by the diagram (Fig. 3), in which the car- bon transmitter, the induction-coil, the line, and the distant receiver are respectively indicated.
In Fig. 4 an early form of the Edison carbon transmitter is represented in sectional view.
The carbon disk is represented by the black portion, E, near the diaphragm, A, placed between two platinum plates D and G, which are connected in the battery circuit, as shown by the lines. A small piece of rubber tubing, B, is attached to the centre of the metallic diaphragm, and presses lightly against an ivory piece, F, which is placed directly over one of the platinum plates. Whenever, therefore, any motion is given to the diaphragm, it is immediately followed by a corresponding pressure upon the carbon, and by a change of resistance in the latter, as described above.
It is interesting to note the position which Edison occupies in the telephone art from a legal standpoint. To this end the reader's attention is called to a few extracts from a decision of Judge Brown in two suits brought in the United States Circuit Court, District of Massachusetts, by the American Bell Telephone Company against the National Telephone Manufacturing Company, et al., and Century Telephone Company, et al., reported in Federal Reporter, 109, page 976, et seq. These suits were brought on the Berliner patent, which, it was claimed, covered broadly the electrical transmission of speech by variations of pressure between opposing electrodes in constant contact. The Berliner patent was declared invalid, and in the course of a long and exhaustive opinion, in which the state of art and the work of Bell, Edison, Berliner, and others was fully discussed, the learned Judge made the following remarks: "The carbon electrode was the invention of Edison.... Edison preceded Berliner in the transmission of speech.... The carbon transmitter was an experimental invention of a very high order of merit.... Edison, by countless experiments, succeeded in advancing the art. . . . That Edison did produce speech with solid electrodes before Berliner is clearly proven.... The use of carbon in a transmitter is, beyond controversy, the invention of Edison. Edison was the first to make apparatus in which carbon was used as one of the electrodes.... The carbon transmitter displaced Bell's magnetic transmitter, and, under several forms of construction, remains the only commercial instrument.... The advance in the art was due to the carbon electrode of Edison.... It is conceded that the Edison transmitter as apparatus is a very important invention.... An immense amount of painstaking and highly ingenious experiment preceded Edison's successful result. The discovery of the availability of carbon was unquestionably invention, and it resulted in the `first practical success in the art.' "
THIS interesting and remarkable device is one of Edison's many inventions not generally known to the public at large, chiefly because the range of its application has been limited to the higher branches of science. He never applied for a patent on the instrument, but dedicated it to the public.
The device was primarily intended for use in detecting and measuring infinitesimal degrees of temperature, however remote, and its conception followed Edison's researches on the carbon telephone transmitter. Its principle depends upon the variable resistance of carbon in accordance with the degree of pressure to which it is subjected. By means of this instrument, pressures that are otherwise inappreciable and undiscoverable may be observed and indicated.
The detection of small variations of temperatures is brought about through the changes which heat or cold will produce in a sensitive material placed in contact with a carbon button, which is put in circuit with a battery and delicate galvanometer. In the sketch (Fig. 1) there is illustrated, partly in section, the form of tasimeter which Edison took with him to Rawlins, Wyoming, in July, 1878, on the expedition to observe the total eclipse of the sun.
The substance on whose expansion the working of the instrument depends is a strip of some material extremely sensitive to heat, such as vulcanite. shown at A, and firmly clamped at B. Its lower end fits into a slot in a metal plate, C, which in turn rests upon a carbon button. This latter and the metal plate are connected in an electric circuit which includes a battery and a sensitive galvanometer. A vulcanite or other strip is easily affected by differences of temperature, expanding and contracting by reason of the minutest changes. Thus, an infinitesimal variation in its length through expansion or contraction changes the press- ure on the carbon and affects the resistance of the circuit to a corresponding degree, thereby causing a deflection of the galvanometer; a movement of the needle in one direction denoting expansion, and in the other contraction. The strip, A, is first put under a slight pressure, deflecting the needle a few degrees from zero. Any subsequent expansion or contraction of the strip may readily be noted by further movements of the needle. In practice, and for measurements of a very delicate nature, the tasimeter is inserted in one arm of a Wheatstone bridge, as shown at A in the diagram (Fig. 2). The galvanometer is shown at B in the bridge wire, and at C, D, and E there are shown the resistances in the other arms of the bridge, which are adjusted to equal the resistance of the tasimeter circuit. The battery is shown at F. This arrangement tends to obviate any misleading deflections that might arise through changes in the battery.