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1875 Chronokey Chronomedia index
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February 27  Alexander Graham Bell signs an agreement with a merchant, Thomas Sanders, and a lawyer, Gardiner G Hubbard, on financing of telegraphic experiments. See 1877 July 9
May 7  Alexandra Palace, London—later the first home of BBC Television—is opened.  
June 3  Intelligible speech transmitted by Alexander Graham Bell using a magnetic microphone.  
•  Electric picture systems using mosaics of selenium photocells proposed by Ayrton and Perry in England and by George R Carey of Boston, USA.  
•  Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) invents the wax stencil mimeograph duplicator.  
•  The Universal Postal Union is established at Bern, Switzerland.  
1876 Chronokey
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.

links and notes
  Cultural highlights | Predictions made this year  
February 14  Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) applies for a patent on his telephone apparatus, three hours before Elisha Gray files a caveat at the Patent Office for his as yet unperfected device.  
February 18  Direct telegraph link is established between Britain and New Zealand.  
March 7  Bell telephone system is patented in the US.  
March 10  First practical use of a voice telephone system by Alexander Graham Bell at 5 Exeter Place, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Bell says to his assistant: 'Mr Watson, come here. I want you.'  
June 25  First public demonstration of Bell’s speaking telephone is given at Centennial Exhibition, Philadelphia, USA.  
1877 Chronokey  
April 18  Charles Cros writes a paper for the Académie des Sciences in Paris (deposited there on 30 April but not opened until 5 December) about his idea for a process which 'consists in obtaining traces of the movements to and fro of a vibrating membrane and in using this tracing to reproduce the same vibrations, with their intrinsic relations of duration and intensity, either by means of the same membrane or some other one equally adapted to produce the sounds which result from this series of movements', using a disc as the recording medium. Cros could not secure funds to make and patent the idea. à 1881
July 9  Bell, Hubbard and Sanders  sign a deed of trust forming the Bell Telephone Company.  
August  Thomas Edison first uses rhe word 'phonograph' on a drawing.  
October 10  Article describing Charles Cros’s invention (see April 18) in La Semaine du Clergé by Abbé Lenoir uses the word 'phonograph' to describe it.  
November 29  Thomas Edison makes drawings of his idea for a cylinder phonograph, which he gives to John Kruesi to execute.  
December 1  Construction begins of a working prototype phonograph from Edison's drawings.  
December 6  Edison records 'Mary had a little lamb' onto a cylinder wrapped with tin foil on his newly completed prototype hand-cranked phonograph at Menlo Park, NJ—the earliest recording of a human voice.
Hear Edison's recording (probably a reconstruction of unknown date).
December 14  British humorous magazine Punch publishes its 'Almanack for 1878', which includes a page of prophetic cartoons about the telephone. Click to see the cartoons
December 24  Edison files for a patent on his phonograph.  
•  Eadweard Muybridge succeeds in taking a sequence of 12 photographs of a horse in motion, which triggers shutters by means of trip-wires as it passes; photographs incidentally produce serial analysis of motion. The apparatus is later doubled and re-doubled to take 24 and then 48 images. > 1878 October 19
•  Senlecq transmits projected images by his Teletroscope.  
•  Frenchman Charles-Emile Reynaud (1844-1907) improves the Zoëtrope into the Praxinoscope, a projector of moving images.  
•  Edison designs a transducer using granules of carbonised hard coal, for use in a carbon microphone (still used a century later).  
  In Germany, E W Siemens invents the moving coil loudspeaker.  
1878 Chronokey  
January 14  Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates his telephone to Queen Victoria at Osborne House, Isle of Wight; she hears a concert relayed by telephone.  
January 28  First telephone exchange opens at New Haven, Connecticut. The telephone company currently has 21 subscribers.  
February 21  First demonstration of Edison's phonograph outside the US is given by William Preece and John Tyndall at the Royal Institution in London. William Preece quotation
February 19  Edison is granted a US patent (no 200521) for his tin-foil cylinder phonograph.  
February 21  First telephone directory in the US is issued at New Haven, Connecticut, listing 50 subscribers.  
March 22  London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company signs a deal with Thomas Edison, negotiated by Théodore Puskás (Edison's European agent for the telephone and phonograph) to exploit the phonograph in the UK.  
April 24  Edison Speaking Phonograph Company is incorporated in the USA.  
April  Photographic plates coated with gelatine emulsion are offered for sale in England by the Liverpool Dry-plate Company and by Wratten & Wainwright.  
May 1-November 10  Among highlights of the Universal Exposition that opens in Paris today are Alexander Graham Bell's telephone, Edison's phonograph and electric lighting (installed along the Avenue and Place de l'Opéra) and the completed head of the Statue of Liberty. One of the international meetings staged during the Exposition is a Congress for the Protection of Literary Property, presided over by Victor Hugo, which leads to the formulation of an international copyright convention, and another that leads to the adoption of Braille. In due course Edison wins the Exposition's Grand Prix.  
May 13  Thomas Edison receives a letter from Uriah Painter (his agent for the phonograph) in Washington DC reading: 'Hurrah for the telephonoscope. I'll get patent on it for you promptly as the others.' However, unlike Du Maurier's visionary cartoon, it appears to be an improved ear trumpet in which a paper funnel around a wire spiral—like the rifling in a gun barrel—captures the sound, which is carried to the ear through a rubber tube.  
•  Letter to the British science journal Nature from London barrister Wordsworth Donnisthorpe (1847-1914) proposes a mechanism that would link the phonograph with moving picture images. > 1888
October 19  Eadweard Muybridge's sequence of photographs of a horse in motion are published in the journal Scientific American. > 1889
December 9  Edison TelephonoscopeCartoon by George du Maurier in Punch’s Almanac for 1879 captioned ‘Edison’s Telephonoscope (transmits light as well as sound)’ shows a wide-screen videophone conversion between London and Ceylon. It is barely a year since Edison's first major invention and much more advanced than Edison's own idea for a 'telephonoscope'. Click on picture to enlarge
•  Edison commissions 600 tin-foil phonographs from several workshops to circulate for demonstration purposes. He experiments with disc recording but rejects it. He then apparently loses interest in sound recording until competition emerges almost a decade later.  
•  Carbon filament incandescent lamp invented in UK by J W Swan with collaboration of C H Stearn (high vacua production expert), F Topham (glass-blower) and C F Cross (who discovered the viscose process for the nitro-cellulose filament fibres).  
•  Arthur-Louis Ducos Du Hauron publishes Photographie en Couleur, in which he develops practical proposals for the subtractive approach to colour photography that he first outlined in 1869.  
•  Thomas Henry Blair devises a portable integrated photographic system called the Tourograph. In one box it includes a camera, wet collodion plates (subsequently changed to dry gelatin) and the necessary chemistry for processing. > 1881
•  Telephone apparatus are manufactured in Japan based on the Bell design by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Industries (Kobusho).  
•  Cathode ('molecular') rays described by Sir W Crookes in the Bakerian Lecture and the following year in the British Association Lecture.  
•  In France, d'Arlincourt devises a photo-telegraphy system that is subsequently tested at the Central Telegraph Office in London.  
•  American engineer Oberlin Smith invents a magnetic recorder. It is not developed commercially. [1888??]  
•  International Literary and Artistic Association formed.  
1879 Chronokey  
August 28  First British telephone exchange opens at Coleman Street, London.  
November 18  Eugen Skladanowsky presents the first public projection of photographs in the Floria Theatre, Berlin.  
December 20  Electric lamp invented by Thomas Edison is first demonstrated.  
•  Ferrier makes the first photographic roll film in France, coating gelatin-bromide emulsion onto a flexible strip of gelatin.  
•  George Eastman invents a machine to make photographic dry plates, which he patents in London.  
•  Eadweard Muybridge develops an improved Zoetrope, called the Zoögyroscope, to show his stop motion photographs. > 1887
•  Boys’ Own Paper is launched in the UK by the Religious Tract Society.  
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Page updated 30 November 2008
© David Fisher