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1879 __ Diaphote
Licks (?-?)
Comment : Yet another marvel! We have long produced movement, heat and light by electricity, and of late we have fallen into the way of speaking, writting and drawing by telegraph. But now, it seems, we are to see by means of what is truly the magic wire. A Dr. H.E. Licks, of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, has invented an instrument which he calls the diaphote, and which has the power of showing, in a mirror at one end, the image of any object placed in front of a corresponding mirror at the other end. These mirrors are composed, the one of selenium and ebromium, and the other of selenium and iodide of silver, - substance very sensitive to light and heat.Each mirror is, moreover, built up of a number of small plates, and the corresponding couples are connected by separate wires. The receiving mirror is placed in a camera, and receives from a lens the pictures of any desired object. The various graduations of light and form failing on the plates of the mirror set up by variations in the electrical currents traversing the connecting wires. These variations cause changes in the plates composing the reproducing mirror, wich thereupon exhibits an image of the object. A public exhibition of this ingenious instrument took place very recently at Reading, in the United States. The receiving mirror was taken down to a room below the hall in which the spectators were assembled, and various objects, such an apple, a penknife, a dollar, a watch, part of the printed handbill &c., were successively placed in front of it, and immediately became visible to the audience ; and whre, at length, the head of a live kitten was thus seen by telegraph, the enthusiasm of all present was wrought up to frenzy. This read well, and in the interests of science we hope it is all true. We remember, though, that a year or so ago some experiments of an analogous nature was tried in the South of France, and an opinion was expressed that it might soon become possible to take photographs of objects at a distance, by means of electric currents and sensitive mirrors. It is just within the bounds of probability that an imaginative Yankee journalist may have read the account of these experiments, and may now be reproducing them, with circumstance and effects. At any rate, the inventor is clearly one wko "licks creation" and we need not to be too sceptical simply because he hails from Bethlehem. ("The diaphote", York House Papers, 14 April 1880, n°24, pp. 1-2)
French comment : Après l'article "The Electroscope" paru dans le New York Sun du 29 mars 1877, voici un nouveau canular symptomatique de ces premières années de recherches sur la vision à distance, paru dans un journal (longtemps non identifié) de Pennsylvanie le 10 février 1880. Il décrit la démonstration d'un diaphote, dispositif de transmission des images à distance, qu'aurait faite au "Monacacy Scientific Club" un certain Dr. H.E. Licks. Les articles de presse successifs qui mentionneront cet appareil parleront du "Dr. Licks de Bethlehem (Pennsylvanie)". Il est donc probable que cet article de février 1880 est paru dans un journal local de cette petite ville de la Vallée de Lehigh. Licks est de toute évidence un pseudonyme, de même qu'il apparaît que les noms des personnes impliquées dans l'affaire du diaphote (Prof. M. E. Kannick, Col. A. D. A. Biatic, and Prof. L. M. Niscate) sont fantaisistes, ainsi que ceux des institutions citées (en particulier le Monacacy Scientific Club). Le diaphote, tel que décrit par Licks, comporte quatre partie essentielle : un miroir de captation (receiving mirror), des fils de transmission, une batterie galvanique et un miroir de reproduction (reproducing speculum). Le miroir de captation serait composé d'un amalgame de sélénium et d'iodure d'argent et le miroir de reproduction d'un amalgame de sélénium et de chrome. Le canular de Licks s'inscrit évidemment dans le contexte des premiers articles publiés dans la presse américaine en 1879 et 1880 sur la possibilité de recourir aux propriétés photo-sensibles du sélénium pour transmettre des images à distance, faisant ainsi écho aux propositions de C.Senlecq et de Georges R. Carey. (André Lange)
Source : Lange, André (1986), “Stratégies de la musique”, Pierre Mardaga, Bruxelles-Liège, 1986.
Urls : http://histv2.free.fr/licks/licks4.htm (last visited ) http://histv2.free.fr/licks/licks.htm (last visited ) http://histv2.free.fr/anthologie.htm (last visited ) http://histv2.free.fr/19/diaphote.htm (last visited ) http://histv2.free.fr/19/hospitalier.htm (last visited )

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