Monday, January 23, 2006

Prof. Amos E. Dolbear

In 1882 Professor Amos Emerson Dolbear was able to communicate over a distance of a quarter of a mile without wires. It is interesting to note that the Tufts Professor was ahead of Hertz and Marconi. (Marconi first let'er rip in 1895) He received a U.S. patent for a wireless telegraph in March of that year. His device relied on induction, not RF. His set-up used phones grounded by metal rods poked into the earth. His transmission range was a little less than a mile, but he received a patent for it (U.S. Patent No. 350,299). More here.

But more importantly the Dolbear patent prevented the Marconi Company from operating in the United States. In the end Marconi had to purchase Dolbear's patent, even though it was A. generally inferior and B. intractable in application. [Ouch that must have hurt. ]

In 1868 Dolbear (while a professor at Bethany College) invented the electrostatic telephone. Dolbear also work on converting sound waves into electrical impulses. He also invented the opeidoscope, and a system of incandescent lighting. He authored several books, articles, and pamphlets, including "Matter, Ether, Motion," and was recognized for his contributions to science at both the Paris Exposition in 1881 and the Crystal Palace Exposition in 1882.