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1796 __ Telephone — « A Treatise concerning some Acoustic Instruments and the use of the Speaking Tube in Telegraphy »
Gottfried Huth (1763-1818)
Comment : Book by G. Huth called “A Treatise concerning some Acoustic Instruments and the use of the Speaking Tube in Telegraphy” is published in Berlin; first use of the word ‘telephone’ [“J.H. Lamberts Abhandlung über einige akustische Instrumente... Sprachrohre und über die Anwendung der Sprachröhre zur Telegraphie”, Berlin, 1796]. Huth proposed that during clear nights, mouth trumpets or speaking tubes should be used to pass messages from tower to tower. Although his proposal was impractical, his fame is assured by the sentence in his book : « To give a different name to telegraphic communication by means of speaking tubes, what could be better than the word derived from the Greek : Telephone ? ». (Anton A. Huurdeman)In 1796 Huth published a translation of a work on acoustics from 1763 by the French physicist J. H. Lambert. Huth gave his book the title A treatise concerning some acoustic instruments and the use of the speaking tube in telegraphy. In his own additions to the translation, Huth criticized the Chappe optical telegraphs used in France at this time for being obviously flawed, since they could not be used in bad weather or at night. Huth improvement was to construct telegraph towers at roughly 5km intervals, on which men were positioned equipped with megaphones (‘‘speaking tubes,’’). These operators could shout messages to each other, be it sunshine or rain, day or night. Realizing the seminal importance of his idea, Huth knew he needed an original name for his invention, to set it apart from all others. As we know, Huth did not get his way. Many others shared this fate with him. One of them, Johann Bergstrasser (1732–1788), started publishing his first works on telegraphy in 1785. (Gerard J. Holzmann)
Original excerpt : « The fundamental difference therefore deserves, and will ultimately require, a different name for the telegraph based on speaking tubes. But what name would be more appropriate than the word derived from the Greek: ‘‘Telephon,’’ or far−speaker [German: Fernsprecher] »
Source : Huurdeman, Anton A. (2003), “ The Worldwide History of Telecommunications”, John Winley & Sons, p. 153.
Source : Holzmann, Gerard J. (1994), “Proving the Value of Formal Methods”, FORTE94, 7th Int. Conference on Formal Description Techniques, held in Bern, Switzerland, October 1994.
Urls : http://spinroot.com/gerard/pdf/forte94b.pdf (last visited )

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