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1860 __ Patent n°2462
Charles Wheatstone (1802-1875)
Comment : Patent no. 2462. CHARLES WHEATSTONE, of Hammersmith, for electro-magnetic telegraphs and apparatus for transmitting signs or indications to distant places by means of electricity, and the means of and apparatus for establishing electric telegraphic communication between distant places. - Dated October 10, 1860. (In "The Repertory of patent inventions : and other discoveries and improvements in arts, manufactures, and agriculture; being a continuation, on an enlarged plan, of the Repertory of arts & manufactures", Enlarged Series, Vol. XXXVII, January-June 1861, L)Charles Wheatstone is granted a patent (no 2462) for “telephones in which musical pipes or free tongues are acted upon by wind. Compressed air or gas is admitted to the pipe by means of a value acted upon by the magnetised needle of an electromagnet. The alternation of long and short sounds may be grouped in a similar manner to the long and short lines in the alphabet of a Morse's telegraph”.Patent n°2462.Charles Wheatstone, of Hammersmith, in the County of Middlesex, for improvements in electro-magnetic telegraphs, and apparatus for transmitting signs or indications to distant places by means of electricity; and in the means of, and apparatus of, establishing electric telegraphic communication between distant places. (The London Journal of Arts and Sciences; being a record of the progress of invention as applied to the arts)and repertory of patent inventions, Vol. XII, December 1, 1860, p. 368).One of the innovatory products made by Reid Brothers [telegraph and pneumatic engineers and contractors and instrument manufacturers] was the “Magnetic Exploder”, the first electrical machine for detonating explosives from a distance. It was invented by Charles Wheatstone in 1860 and included in his patent No 2,462 of that year. The Exploder was used in concert with an insulated copper wire and Frederick Abel’s “Magnet Fuze”, which was a tiny charge of ‘phosphide of copper’ in a gutta-percha casing ignited by electricity. The Exploder was a crank-operated magneto-generator using six small horseshoe magnets and six soft iron armatures rotating on a brass axis, weighing thirty-two pounds, in a wooden case that weighed an additional seven pounds. This earliest blasting machine could simultaneously ignite from two to twenty-five black powder or gun-cotton charges in tin cases or india-rubber bags over 600 yards distance with a single insulated wire. Up to four submarine charges in india-rubber bags could also be detonated at one time. The Universal Private Telegraph Company, even from its first years, was not just a provider of communications - as its presence at the International Exhibition of 1862 at South Kensington shows. The influence of Charles Wheatstone was overwhelming; of course the Company displayed to the audience two of Wheatstone’s Universal telegraphs, but it also included and offered for sale examples of immensely advanced technology; his automatic printing telegraph – which it claimed could print 500 code-characters a minute; his magnetic clock connected with several other small clocks; alarm and “exploding” bells worked by electricity; and a magnetic register or telemeter, showing the number of persons passing through the doors and turnstiles of the exhibition. The “exploding” bells were actually Wheatstone’s magnetic exploder for detonating explosive charges; it was widely demonstrated in the 1860s letting-off small fireworks and flares, being adopted by the Army for demolitions in 1861. (Steven Roberts, “Distant Writing - A History of the Telegraph Companies in Britain between 1838 and 1868”, 2010)
Urls : http://www.atlantic-cable.com/CableCos/ReidBros/ (last visited ) http://distantwriting.co.uk/default.aspx (last visited ) http://distantwriting.co.uk/cookewheatstone.aspx (last visited )

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