Western Electric Company I
Life Span: 1872-TBD
Location: 220-232 Kinzie, Kinzie street between State and Dearborn streets (1872-1883)
Architect: Eli Jennings
Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1872
A NEW BRANCH OF INDUSTRY.
The Western Electric Manufacturing Company’s New Establishment.
Among the substantial new buildings erected en the North Side may be classed the one just completed by Mr. Eli Jennings, architect and contractor, for General Anson Stager. It is located on the south side of Kinzie street between State and Dearborn streets, and built of brick, with terra cotta trimmings, it fronts 140 feet on Kinzie street, with 85 feet depth, containing seven stores, three stories in height with basement. The entire upper part of the building, together with one store and basement underneath, is being fitted np with steam power, steam heating apparatus, steam elevator, and other modern improvements for the Western Electric Manufacturing Company.
This Company has bought out the manufacturing establishment of the Western Union Telegraph Company, hitherto located at Ottawa in this State, as also that of Messrs. Gray Barton of this city, and, with the new and improved machinery to be added, will form the most extensive end complete establishment for the manufacture of telegraph instruments and electric machinery in the United States, and its location in this city is another proof of the advantages which Chicago offers as the most convenient and desirable point for the manufacturing interests of the West, Mr. Jennings, the contractor, is entitled to great credit for the substantial and workmanlike manner in which this building has been erected.
The Graybar Story, Graybar Company, 2013
BELL VS. GRAY.
Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the patent of the telephone, but there are others who claim ownership of the invention, including Elisha Gray. On Valentine’s Day 1876, Elisha Gray submitted a caveat detailing his invention of transmitting musical tones over a telegraph wire. A caveat is a formal declaration of the inventor’s intention to protect his idea before filing a complete application. Bell filed an application, but since their submissions were so similar, the Patent Office suspended the decision and offered Gray an opportunity to submit a full application. Since Gray’s financial backers were not interested in the telephone, Gray declined the invitation to submit a full application and the patent was awarded to Bell.
Even though Gray would never be recognized as the inventor of the telephone, he was awarded more than 70 patents and authored several books. Many books have been written surrounding the controversy of the telephone invention. In fact, The Telephone Gambit, written in 2008 by Seth Shulman, claims that Bell stole the telephone’s key ingredient from Elisha Gray
Chicago Tribune, October 21, 1873
A WONDERFUL INSTRUMENT.
The Western Electric Manufacturing Company, of No. 220 East Kinzie street, have on exhibition several of what they term “Gray’s Printing Telegraph Instruments,” for use on private lines. On inquiry, we find that hundreds of them are in use all over the country, and the Company is still behind its orders for them.
This wonderful little instrument, occupying hardly as much space as a small clock, prints its messages at the rate of thirty to forty words per minute, on a narrow strip of paper. The noise made by the wonder is less than that of a sewing-machine while its beauty of construction makes it highly ornamental.
The gentleman in charge kindly explained to our reporter the method of sending telegrams upon it, and the writer is satisfied, as the result of his experiments, that any one can learn to use it in a few minutes.
The letters are all engraved on the rim of a delicate wheel, about the size of a quarter dollar. Under this runs the paper while over it is a little felt ink roller, which inks the types, or letters, as the wheel revolves. Two rows of buttons, in front, on the base, are marked with the letters and such pauses as are needed,—comma, period, etc.
To write upon it, you press down one button, which starts the letter-wheel of your own, and of all other instruments connected with it, revolving rapidly. Now press down in succession the marked buttons, as slowly or as rapidly as you desire, and every instrument, wherever located, prints your message.
And, at whatever speed you write or print, as the paper only moves a certain distance after each letter, the message is always perfectly spaced and printed.
It is not necessary that you should be present, even, when a message is being sent to you. The paper is started, controlled, and printed upon by your correspondent at a distance, and when von return to your office after an absence, you find your message printed and awaiting your attention.
The Western Electric Automatic Printer, the precursor to the Stock Ticker.
There is no clock-work, weight, or spring; the whole thing is moved by the invisible sprite—electricity—and that with a speed and accuracy that is marvelous.
We learn that these instruments are in use by manufacturers, connecting their factories and offices; by merchants, between stores and warehouses, and between offices and dwellings. The wires are stretched over the house-tops and on poles, running all distances, from 2 miles to 40, and the little fairies are printing their messages of business and pleasure all around us.
Chicago Tribune, July 12, 1874
The science of electric telegraphy, though from the results already achieved one might suppose limits of its power were well-nigh exhausted, is considered by those who have made it a life study, said are thus intimately acquainted with its possibilities, to be still in its infancy. It might be supposed that, with the wonderful results which have crowned the successive experiments and inventions of electricians since the subtle power of electricity was fast used as a means of transmission, they would rest content, and point to what their results had already achieved as an answer to any unreasonable individual who might presume to demand a search for further developments and an improvement upon the systems of telegraphy at present in vogue. In this age. however, the scientist’s love of research, and his determination to probe to the bottom any problem whose solution promises either to add to the light of science or to prove of practical utility to mankind, is unceasing and fixed. The old and new hemispheres are no sooner made one with the throb of an electric pulse 3,000 miles in length, than the idea of girdling the earth is decided upon, and, while this gigantic scheme is approaching completion, the electrician looks for new fields for his fertile and insatiable brain. With a proper devotion the electrician recovers the power be utilizes as one which can be applied in the promotion of all branches of the arts and sciences, the only thing requisite being the discovery of the peculiar way in which it is to be applied to produce the result required. Since the application of electric-telegraphy to trans-ocean service the great problem has been the
Increasing tthe Capacity of the Single Wire and the consequent cheapening of the rates to the public. The prospect for the accomplishment of either of these results has been anything but promising. Several discoveries have been made, which, however, have been more remarkable as evidences of their inventors’ genius than as possessing any very practical advantages.
The latest attempt at increasing the capacity of a single telegraphic wire has been made by a Chicago electrician, Mr. Elisha Gray, Superintendent of the Western Electric Manufacturing Company, and his invention is so novel, so bold a step one of the beaten track into a new and almost illimitable branch of electric science, that the following description of the invention, or discovery, is placed before our readers. Mr. Gray’s invention is nothing more or less than a combined application of certain hitherto undiscovered electrical and certain already discovered acoustic principles. With these properly applied and controlled he professes to be able to
Transmit Sound of Any Desired Pitch along a telegraphic wire with as much accuracy as the operator sends an ordinary message. In short, sitting in Chicago he can send note “Do” to New York, “Re” to Philadelphia, “Mi” to New Orleans, and so forth, or, if necessary, on the Fourth of July in each year, as an amiable greeting to John Bull, as represented by the Privy Council in session at London, be could regale their ears with the soul-inspiring melody of Yankee Doodle played in Washington by the President, Gen. Butler, the Secretary of the War Department, or any other appropriate person whose renewal education bed not been in youth neglected.
More Wonderful Still.
Mr. Gray claims that it is quite possible and practicable that a Chicago audience could enjoy a quartette the performers of which will play their parts respectively in New York, New Orleans, San Francisco, and Duluth. With a view to placing before its readers some idea of the nature or this new wonder a Tribune reporter called yesterday upon Mr. Gray, the inventor, at the workshopp on Kinzie street of the Western Electric Manufacturing Company. Mr. Gray at once submitted to an interview as follows:
What Is It?
Reporter—Mr. Gray, I believe that you have perfected an invention which promises to open up a new era in telegraphing. In the fewest words what do you call it
Mr. Gray—An electrical apparatus for transmitting musical sounds of any desired pitch telegraphically.
Reporter—What is the object of your apparatus?
Mr.Gray—Its object is the transmission of inimical sound from one place to another by means of an electrio current, in such a manner that the pitch of the sound received nifty be determined or controlled at its destination by means employed for that purpose at the place from which the sound is sent, and to that end my invention consists in producing the sound by means of an electric current operating in connection with one or more vibrating pieces arranged to interrupt the circuit by their vibrations, and in connection with a sound-piece for receiving or reproducing the pitch.
Reporter: Unless I am mistaken, sound has already been transmitted by electric force.
What Had Previously Been Done.
Mr. Gray—I am aware that sound has been produced by this means, but this sound, so far as I am aware has not been strictly transmitted or, reproduced by means of an electric current, but has resulted from the striking together of certain parts of the instrument operated upon, the concussion at one instrument being simultaneous, or nearly so, with that at the other. A monotone has thus been produced at a distant instrument, and the pitch determined by the parts there brought instance, —for instance, the Morse apparatus at present in use.
Reporter—Then the point of your invention is the reproduction of the same note at a distance?
Reporter—Can a musical sound in its pristine purity be transmitted over an electrical wire of any length?
Mr. Gray—I have made an experiment which satisfies me that a musical sound can be transmitted 4,000 miles without losing any of its correctness of tone.
Reporter—Will it not lose greatly in volume in such a distance?
Mr. Gray—That depends upon the nature of the receiver, of which more hereafter. Its volume way be greater or less accordingly than that of the original sound transmitted.
Reporter—What apparatus do you employ in producing these wonderful results?
Mr. Gray—The sending instrument is an electrical organ, of which every reed is so constructed as to length and thickness as to give forth a note or a given musical pitch. When the key is depressed it closes the electrical current, which connect with a magnet which contras a certain reed. The vibration of this reed is produced by the electricity as effectively as in a church organ the tone is produced by the wind from the bellows.
Reporter—And the note produced- by this vibration is carried by the electrical current?
Mr. Gray—To the other end of the line. All that is wanted there is a proper receiving apparatus. This may consist of anything which is of a sonorous nature, and at the same time a conductor of electricity. One of the beet receivers is a violin with a metallic plate stretched on it, in lieu of the strings, and supported on a couple of bridges. In my first experiments, I found is necessary to have living tissue in the circuit at the receiving end.
Reporter—A human being?
Mr. Gray—That was the kind of living tissue I employed. A cat would do as well, though. I can do away with the living tissue, however, substituting therefor an electro-magnet.
Reporter—Well, granting that the sound can be transmitted, how can it be utilized?
Mr. Gray—The uses to which the apparatus may be applied are various. In telegraphy, for instance, instead of transmitting messages by means of the Morse alphabet now in general use, tones pitched to correspond with the letters may be employed, and these tones can be produced much more rapidly than the printed or impressed dashes could be made, and would be less than the intermissions required for that purpose. In other words, the dashes could each be denoted by a corresponding pitch of sound received, and the time required to denote a dash would thus be no longer than that required for a dot; or dots and dashes may both be denoted in this manner. A skillful operator capable of quickly distinguishing one pitch from another, could thus readily interpret a message. The receiving operator may, by bringing his ear in contact with the sounding piece have both hands free to send a message. The recording may be accomplished by means of a Sholes & Gliddens type-writer, with which expert operators can record about eighty words a minute. Of course. a new alphabet eousisting entirely of dots would have to be employed where each letter was represented by a note of different pitch. These dots would be identical as regards duration with the Morse dot. The saving of time by this change would be equal to four to one.
Electrical Force Required.
Reporter—Does the transmitting of sound require a greater or a less electrical force than ordinary telegraphing?
Mr. Gray—Mach less. For ordinary sound-telegraphing purposes much less than a hundredth part of the battery power now required would be sufficient. In this respect it may be employed with great advantage connection with marine cables and wires. I believe that with two, or at most three, cups, 2,000 miles of aerial lines could be worked on the sound system, where not lees than 2,000 cups are at present employed.
Twenty Messages at One Time.
Reporter—Are the increased rate of speed. and the diminution in necessary battery-power the only practical advantages your system has over the old one?
Mr. Gray—No. The great advantage lies in the fact that I believe in working by sound transmission. As many as twenty or more messages can be sent over a single wire at the same time without any confusion at the receiving office. Without going into the science of acoustics to any great depth, I will mention that one of its principles is going to help us produce the result I anticipate. Take a tuning fork, vibrate it, and pass it along the mouths of the pipes of an organ, and you find that while in those of a different key from the fork no effect is produced, the moment the fork is placed opposite the pipe or the same key the latter will give out a sound. I believe that this principle is applicable in sound-telegraphy. An operator telegraphing at the transmitting end or the wire sends an his messages in one sustained note maintained by the vibration of a reed tuned to give forth a certain musical note which is in unison with an organ-pipe at the receiving end. Several operators, each working the ordinary Morse alphabet in a different note, can, I believe, send and receive messages over the same wire without confusion.
Reporter—Then the increase in speed will be in ratio to the number of operators at work on each wire
Mr. Gray—More than that even. In submarine cables an operator at work on one note will be able to transmit three times as fast as an operator does at present.
Reporter—In how many notes do you think messages can be transmitted along a single wire?
Mr. Gray—As far as can be seen, I know no reason why there should be any limit outside of the limit of musical sound of distinct pitches.
Reporter—What success have you already obtained in the joint transmission and distinct reception of musical sounds?
Mr. Gray—In experimenting with a resistance coil I have successfully transmitted simultaneously and received separately four distinct musical sounds.
Reporter—What do you consider to be the limit of musical pitches capable of being employed?
Mr. Gray—In seven octaves there are about eighty-five distinct musical notes. To avoid the confusion which might arise from the employment of two notes of nearly the same pitch, I would use only notes removed from one another by four or five intervening notes.
Reporter—That would leave about twenty notes available, and, with the capacity of telegraphing in each three times as fast as by the present method. the capacity of a single wire will be increased about sixty-six times?
Mr. Gray—That is the minimum practical result which I trust will be obtained.
Reporter—To drop the practical view of the matter, do you really think that it will lie in your power to telegraph a tune from Chicago to a remote American city?
Mr. Gray—Yes and to as many of them as are supplied with telegraphic connections and a proper receiver.
Reporter—What regulates the quality of the music?
Mr. Gray—The quality of the tone at the receiving end is determined by the nature of the receiving apparatus, the tune, and Lucie by the musician who plays the electrical instrument at the transmitting end of the wire. If a piece of paper be the receiver, the tone is pretty much like that produced by the comb-organ which we used to grind tunes out of in our early days; if a violin, the tone is full and resonant, and Just as if the violin were played on with a bow, this even though the instrument played by the musician was a piano. An oyster-can is by no means a poor receiver.
Reporter—Then, I suppose, if an empty beer-barrel were used as a receiver, it would convert the music Into a People’s party stump oration?
Mr. Gray (very gravely)—That is a matter I cannot determine.
Reporter—Have you made any transmissions of sound over a long length of line instead of employing resistance cons?
Mr. Gray—In New York City recently, I bad the use for one experiment of the serial line from New York to Detroit and back by way of Boston and for another of the lines from New York to Washington and return.
Reporter—How did the experiments succeed?
Mr.Gray—Perfectly. A tune was played which went the round of both trips. The instrument on which the tune was played gave out tones which could only be heard an inch or two from the instrument, while the volume which the violin-receiver emitted filled the room.
Reporter—What do you call the instrument which provides the music?
Mr. Gray—I call it a telephone. The one with which I made experiments in New York is still there, but I am having another one made here of two octaves, with which I will illustrate the working of my invention it you, will step this way.
The inventor stepped into the workshop of the Company, and showed the reporter his new telephone, into which as yet only four reeds had been inserted. Haying made an electric connection with it, he took the end of the wire into a room at the end of the workshop, shut the door, and waited for the sound of the notes to come from the instrument which he had instructed a gentleman to play. The wire conduction and resistance coil between the telephone and the sounder, which was simply a small tin box with openings on the upper surface, was equal to about 800 miles of aerial line, yet the notes from the receiver sounded clearly and correctly. In every respect the experiment was successful.
It is now about four months since Mr. Gray first conceived the idea of telegraphing mustcal sounds. That he has made good use of his time any one who saw the experiment would be willing to admit. The idea is indorsed by the highest electric authority of the United States as one not only of great practical utility. but also worthy of deep study, and likely to open new fields of speculation and discovery to Whether the electric authorities of the Old World indorse this view will be soon found out, as Mr. Gray is going to England in a few days, where he will submit his invention to Prof. Tyndall. If be says it is a good thing, Mr. Gray will require no farther indorsement.
On St. Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1876, attorneys for Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent application. A few hours later that same day attorneys for Elisha Gray filed his caveat. Both Bell’s application and Gray’s caveat illustrated devices that electrically transmitted sounds over a wire. Because of that similarity, the Patent Office invited Gray to file a patent application in place of his caveat so that interference could be declared between the two applications. Gray sought advice from his patent attorney and his principal backer—the Western Union Telegraph Company. They suggested, and Gray agreed, that he should concentrate his energies on the telegraph multiplexer. So Gray declined the invitation. This decision not to take action on the caveat turned out to be the single biggest—and worst—decision of Gray’s career. By not acting on the Patent Office’s invitation, Gray allowed his caveat to be superseded by Bell’s patent application.
Chicago Tribune, March 24, 1886
Columbus, O., March 23.—It is at last settled, and the great suit against the Bell Telephone Company has been commenced by the Government in the United states Court of this city. This is welcome news to the army of correspondents who have been watching and waiting at the door of the court for the jest month in hopes of catching a sight of the bill. This afternoon the lion. P. H. Kumler of Cincinnati, United States District Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio, arrived here. and in company with D. Humphrey of Washington. D.C..who has been assisting Judge Thurman in the preparation of the case, repaired to the Thurman residence, where the finishing touches were put upon the document. At 3 o’clock preeisely the bill was tiled in the United States Court by Deputy Clerk Corwin. It is a voluminous document, containing seventy-five pages of printed matter, forty-seven being devoted to the petition proper and the rest to exhibits and citations of former cases. The local counsel for defendants are Messrs. Taylor Taylor. Process was issued and immediate service made so far as possible on the legal representatives of the companies named in the person of their officers. and subpoenaes will be served on those In the Northern District tomorrow. They are cited to appear and answer by June 1. The question of jurisdiction will be first argued. The foreign attorneys of the defendants are not named in the petition.
In the bill of complaint the United States of America appears as complainant, the respondents being thus described: The American Bell Telephone Company, a corporation under the laws of Massachusetts; The Central Union Telephone Company. a corporation under the laws of Illinois; The Erie Telephone and Telegraph Company. incorporated under the laws of tile State of Massachusetts; The Central District and Printing Telegraph Company. incorporated under the laws of Pennsylvania; The Cleveland Telephone Company, The City and Suburban Telegraph Company, The Miami Telephone company, The Buckeye Telephone Company—the latter four companies incorporated under the laws of Ohio—and Alexander Graham Bell. The bill is one in equity, aud is addreseed to the Judges of the United States Circuit Court tor the Southern District ot Ohio, Eastern Division. The counsel appearing for the Government in the matter are Solicitor-General Goode, acting for the Attorney-General; Philip H. Kumler, United States District-Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio; and these special counsel: Messrs. Allen G. Thurman, Groevenor P. Lowrey, Hunton & Chandler, and Charles S. Whitman. The Solicitor-General acts for the Attorney-General in the matter, it is explained, because of the latter’s disability to prosecute.
The United States is empowered, the bill goes on to say, to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries. The conditions are that the art or thing shall be new and useful, and that a patent shall have been duly obtained. It is the duty of an applicant for a patent to make known fully, fairly, and in good faith to the proper Government officers all matters bearing on his invention or discovery and its connection with the history or state of the art to which the invention or discovery belongs.
This is for the purpose ot enabling these officers to determine properly whether the applicant Is really the first inventor and thereby entitled to the grant of a monopoly. The power and authority to issue a patent extends only to the case of inventions actually new and useful end to the person who is the true, original, and first inventor. Whenever a patent is, by accident, inadvertence, mistake, or fraud issued to a person who is not the true inventor or for an invention or part of an invention not both new and useful, the Government may bring the case to a judicial investigation and determination, so that the patent may be upheld, annulled, reformed, or modified “as in law and equity and good conscience it ought to be.”
It is in pursuance of this duty that the charge is made that certain letters patent issued to Bell, dated March 7, 1876. and numbered 174,465, were illegally and improperly procured to be issued, and the present suit is brought for the purpose of having justice done to the various parties to the action, as well as to all others in whose interest and for the restoration and protection of whose rights this proceeding is instituted. The Patent-Office records bearing on the case are made part of the complaint.
In order for Bell to obtain his patent lawfully it was necessary for him, under the provisions of Sec. 4,888 of the Revised Statutes, to file in the Patent-Office a written description of his alleged invention and the manner and process of using it in such full, clear, concise, and exact terms as to enable any person skilled in the art or science to which it appertained, or with which it is most nearly connected, to make and use the same. In regard to any machine or apparatus connected with it his duty was to explain the principle and the best mode of applying such principle so as to distinguish it from other inventions, and to point out particularly what he claimed as his invention or discovery. Any intentional omission or failure to do this or any attempt by wide generalizations and ambiguous language to discourage further inventions in the same field, or to cover antecedent or future inventions or to deceive or mislead the public, rendered the patent void.
An Ambiguous Document.
Although up to the time of the issue of the patent to Bell he had never in fact been able to transmit articulate speech by the method or apparatus described by him in his application, he purposely, it is charged, framed his application and claim in ambiguous and general terms so as to cover antecedent and future inventions and to mislead the public and the patent examiners. He did not declare that his invention had anything to do with transmitting articulate speech by means of electricity, but referred to it as an “improvement in telegraphy,” and made special reference to a recent application made by him for a patent tor a method of “multiple telegraphy,” and treated his invention as another method of this. He made no claim for a capacity to transmit speech. This misled the examiners, who failed to make search on the subject of transmitting speech by electricity, and rendered the patent so issued void. Moreover, Jan. 29, 1876, when Bell filed his application, he did not believe himself to be the inventor or all the so-called improvements in telegraphy described and claimed in the specification. He did know and believe that certain of these improvements bad been previously known to and used by others. If it had not been for these untrue statements the patent would not have been iesued to Bell.
It was well known at the time that Philip Reis of Germany did about 1861 devise, and subsequently improve, an apparatus for transmitting speech by means of the galvanic current. The publication of his work was familiar to the scientific world, and prior to Bell’s application a number of persons in this country devised more or less perfect forms of apparatus for transmitting speech by means of electricity.
Feb. 14, 1876, the day Ben filed his application at the Patent-Office, and before he did so, Elisha Gray of Chicago filed a caveat for an invention expressly declared to be “to transmit the tones of the human voice through a telegraphic circuit and reproduce them at the receiving end of the line, so that actual conversation can be carried on by persons at a long distance apart,” the claim being for “the art transmitting vocal sounds or conversation telegraphically through an electric circuit.” By law—Sec. 4,902, Revised Statues—Gray was entitled to have his caveat preserved in secrecy in the Patent-Office and to file his description, specification, drawings, and model within three months after notice of any other application, filed within one year, with which such caveat would in any manner interfere. Gray was also entitled to have Bell’s application, with its description, model, etc., deposited la the confidential archives of the Patent-Office until three months had expired, so that if Bell’s claim interfered with his own the Patent-Office should apprise Gray of the fact. The examining officer notated Gray Feb. 19. 1876, of Bell’s claim, describing the latter ‘s application as one for a “telephonic telegraph,” which signified a far-sounding method of transmtting telegraphic signals, but not a far-speaking instrument for the transmission of human speech,” such as Gray claimed in his caveat.
Despite the statutory requirements as to secrecy the examining officer of the Patent-Office communicated to Bell the fact of the filing Of Gray’s caveat soon after this was done, as well as the general nature of the claim contained in it, and some information of the particular method Bell followed up this knowledge and induced some of the patent officers to further violate the requirement of secrecy by setting on foot an inquiry for Bell’s benefit as to the precise time of day when Gray’s caveat was filed, “and thereupon, without any certain proof and contrary to law and the custom of the office, it was determined, contrary to the fact, that said caveat was filed after said application, although the same day.” As a result it was determined that Gray was not entitled to the notice which had already been given, nor to the benefits of Sec. 4,920 as regards Bell’s application. The Patent-Office Examiner, who bad the matter in charge, without letting Gray know of the question that had been raised as to the time of filing or of its determination, and without giving him any opportunity to prove the time of filing his caveat, announced to him Feb 25, 1876, that the notice sent him had been given under a misapprehension and was withdrawn.
The Examiner regarded Bell’s application as one for an improvement in multiple telegraphy. His opinion wee that Bell’s application and Gray’s caveat interfered on principles employed on harmonic or multiple telegraphy, but not in the art of transmitting Bell’s language and drawing gave no intelligible notice that one portion of his specification related to telephony, which had come in general use as the term denoting the transmission of speech by means of electricity.
How Bell Worked It.
It was March 10, 1876, three days after the patent was wee issued to him, that Bell obtained for the first time articulate speech by an electric speaking telephone. This was not achieved with any device or apparatus described in his specification and patent, but was obtained by the liquid transmitter or water telephone described in Gray’s caveat and derived by Bell from the latter. Bell’s devices. up to the time of filing his application, did not transmit and deliver articulate speech. He did not intend so to operate them nor was he aware that they would do so. There is not and never was, it is declared, an electric speaking telephone in use made in accordance with Bell’s alleged invention, and the instrument used by the American Bell Company was not invented or discovered by Bell, “nor did he invent or discover any essential part or principle of the same.” The instruments are declared to be combinations of the inventions of other persons, some made before and some since Bell’s alleged discovery. These facts showing fraud, it is stated, long remained artfully concealed, and have only recently been brought to the knowledge and attention of the prosecutor.
Bell, in order to fortify himself, further imposed on the Patent-Office Jan. 15, 1877. when be made another application and had issued to him Jan. 30, 1877, patent No. 186,787, which purports to be granted for specific devices and apparatus for transmitting speech by electricity. Every material part of these was taken by him bodily from well-known and existing apparatus, devices, and plans invented by others for the purpose. He framed his claims in this second patent so as to give him and his associates the practical monopoly of well-known and essential devices used and combined in all instruments for the transmission of articulate speech by electricity. Those claiming under him hold that the two patents give them not only a monopoly of the art of transmitting speech electrically, but also of all the essential parts of any apparatus by which such transmission can be effected.
Bell appropriated Prof. Amos E. Delbear’s magneto telephone. which is now used as a receiver by toe American Bell Company. Prof. Dolbear exhibited a complete, perfect articulating telephone Sept. 20, 1876, combining all the appliances now used in that of the company mentioned under Bell’s patent of Jan. 30, 1877. Dolbear was about to get a patent for his telephone, and communicated with a friend named Percival V. Richards. The latter was a friend and associate of Bell, and inadvisedly told the latter of Dolbear’s invention, giving him also a description of it. Gardner G. Hubbard, Bell’s father-in-law, shortly afterward told Richards that Bell had obtained a patent on the devices of Dolbear over two years previously. This statement was untrue, but Dolbear believed it, and for a long time ceased his efforts to patent his telephone. Bell and Hubbard, after getting Dolbear’s invention, went to Washington and obtained the patent No. 186,787 on it. Bell simply appropriated Dolbear’s invention. Prof. Dolbear soon after made a contract with the Gold & Stock Telegraph Company of New York for the manufacture and sale of his telephones, and they were sold for nearly three years. Then the Western Union Telegraph Company, which controlled the Gold Stock Company, agreed with the American Telephone Company on a compromise in what is known as the Dowd case, appropriated to themselves the entire profits of telephony in the United States, and suppressed the fact of Dolbear’s invention and Bell’s misappropriation of it. In further pursuance of this scheme the telephone company and the Western Union got up a collusive interference case in the Patent-Office between Bell and Dolbear. The latter was not represented except in name, and the case was prosecuted so as to suppress the fact that, as against Bell, Dolbear was the inventor. The counsel on both sides were in the same interest, and so it was decided that Bell was the inventor of the telephone. For this fraud the patent No. 186,787 was invalid and should be canceled.
Those Men Who Were Ahead of Him.
The telephone device claimed by Bell was previously used, It is declared, by the following persons: James W. McDonough, Daniel Drawbaugh, Elisha Gray, Thomas A. Edison. Antos E. Dolbear, Philip H. Van der Weyde. Adolph Ott, W. F. Channing, Benjamin F. Edwards, James Humblett Edward Farrar. Antonio Meucci, W. S. Voliker, Edward E. Pickering. Charles H. Cross, Alfred C. Holcomb, Ellen G. Holcomb, Philip Reis, Royal E. House, David Hughes. Asahel K. Eaton. Dr. S. D. Cushman, Signor Mouzetti. Paul La Cour, Prof. Tates, and Cromwell Fleetwood Varley.
In explaining why various corporations are made respondents the bill of complaint sets forth:
- And your orator shows to your Honors that by mesne assignments in writing, in due form made and executed by the said Bell, and duly recorded in the Patent-Office of the United States, the said Alexander Graham Bell transferred the said letters patent to the American Bell Telephone Company, No. 174,465, dated March 7, 1876, and also the said letters patent No. 186,787, dated Jan. 30, 1877, and each of them, and has become divested of ail right, title, and interest therein, and has transferred his title in and to said letters patent and in and to the matters and grants therein contained to the American Bell Telephone Company.
That your orator has made the said Alexander Graham Bell defendant in this bill, not by reason of any interest, right, or title in said patents, as he has become divested of all right, title, or interest therein, but that he may, if he so choose, appear herein and assert any pretended claim, right, or interest which he may believe himself possessed of end be heard herein.
The prayer of the complaint is that the defendants make answer to the complaint; that the Bell patents be declared null and void; that it be declared that the patents were wrongfully procured to be issued by means of fraud, false suggestion, concealment, and wrong on the part of Alexander Graham Bell, and that there is nothing in the patents or specifications on which a monopoly of a patentable invention could have been lawfully granted to him, and that the patents be repealed and the record of them be expunged: that the letters-patent be surrendered to the court, so that the Patent-Office seals may be removed or destroyed. If, however, the court should determine that the patents are not wholly void and not deserving to be wholly repealed, but are merely partly so, a decree is asked for repealing such parts as the court may deem void. “and that the said patents and each of them he treated as contracts and be reformed, limited, and modified as in equity and good conscience they ought to be.” An injunction is also asked restraining the defendants, their agents. from setting up any pretense or claim under the Bell patents, or from pleading these in judicial proceedings as evidence of any grant or right conferred on Bell or his assignees.
Western Electric Company
220-232 Kinzie Street