Fragments of a Three-nail microphone, 1875-1880

Made:
1875-1880
maker:
David Edward Hughes

Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Musuem

Small fragments in a crystal box, from French-nail microphone used by D.E. Hughes together with one small gauze-covered box, probably made by David Edward Hughes, England, 1875-1880

French-nail microphone used by D.E. Hughes together with one small gauze-covered box, probably made by David Edward Hughes, England, 1875-1880.

The development of the microphone owes much to David Edward Hughes (1831-1901). Building on the work of Willoughby Smith and Sir William Thomson, Hughes attempted to detect changes in the resistance of wire with sound. He discovered that these changes occurred only when his stretched test wire broke and when he touched the ends together. He found that light but constant pressure was the only essential, and in place of the wire tried a single nail resting lightly on two others. Hughes did not patent his discoveries, meaning that subsequent inventors were able to make use of them without giving Hughes the credit.

Details

Category:
Telecommunications
Object Number:
1922-229/2
type:
fragment
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • audio equipment
credit:
Executors of the late Anna C. Hughes