David Hughes – inventor of the microphone



It is widely agreed that David Edward Hughes is the inventor of the microphone – he developed the carbon microphone, a device that, with some modifications, is widely used today.


The Anglo-American inventor was born in London, England in 1831 and moved with his parents to the United States when he was seven. He became a music professor in 1850 at the college of Bardstown, Kentucky and then he became a natural philosophy professor at the same college. He only spent four years in the academic field, from where he moved in 1854 and began working on various devices, such as the type-printing telegraph and, of course, the carbon microphone. The inventor of the microphone was equally successful in all of his endeavors, but the carbon microphone remains the invention for which he became famous.

Putting the pieces together

The inventor of the microphone worked on the device for years before getting positive results. He found out that carbon transmitters are basically two pieces of carbon that have a slight contact with one another. The variable electrical resistance thus obtained is included in a circuit that is also equipped with a battery. The whole device is influenced by sound waves – the vibrations created by sounds in the air pressure. Hughes found out that the resistance of the current can be traced so that it represents an exact replica of the original sound waves.

Although these initial results were published in 1878 and Hughes became known as the real inventor of the microphone, he continued his research years after, improving the carbon microphone. He continued to develop his invention until he discovered several essential principles of wireless telegraphy. Although his experiments were not readily accepted by the science community, he continued his experiments until he got to undeniable proof to argument his statements.

History of the Microphone

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