Burlington (Iowa) Hawk-eye, March 13, 1887, page 1.
An Instrument Promising to Revolutionize the Telegraph System.
Cincinnati Commercial Gazette.
The number of people in the state of Ohio are exceedingly few who know that the state has within its borders a young man, only about 23 years of age, who has already perfected one of the most wonderful inventions of the age. His name is C. E. Egan, and he is a native of the state, having been born near Zanesville.
The invention referred to is no less than an instrument which will enable vessels at sea to communicate with each other, or with the land, by human voice, without regard to distance. The advantage of this, the inventor explains, are obvious and manifold, for it will enable those on land to know daily where vessels are, and should an accident of any kind occur assistance could be sent at once, or in the event of a storm, positive information as to the longitude and latitude could be sent where the vessel went down, thus enabling owners to save property that would otherwise be lost.
Mr. Egan was found at the office of the Egan Electrical Manufacturing company, in the Wesley block, on High street, which, as the name indicates, is an incorporated company. At first he was not inclined to be communicative, as he afterwards explained, "for the reason that the office is overrun with people, called there by curiosity, consuming no little time and seriously delaying the business." The interview began by asking:
"Have you yet perfected your wireless telephone?"
"Yes; so far as its use on land and water is concerned, it is simply perfect; but it has not been sufficiently perfected to use for exchange purposes in cities."
"Will this be done, eventually?"
"Without doubt. You know the earth is a conductor, but for use in exchanges the distance must be changed so often that it requires time to perfect the system. I am now working on that feature of the patent, and have every reason to expect successful termination."
"Have you tested the workings of your telephone on land?"
"Yes; we have several times made the test at half a mile, and it gave the greatest satisfaction to those who witnessed it. We know it will work as well at a distance of four miles as on a half mile circuit."
"Have all of your stockholders given it a trial?"
They have all tried it, and not one of the gentleman financially interested in a company have had any fault to find for the reason that it gave the best of satisfaction."
"That is a strong test in itself?"
"Yes; when men are investing money in an enterprise they always want to know something about it--that is sense and business."
"What is the capital stock of your company?"
"It is $25,000; but this will not be the capital stock of the telephone company when it is organized to place the instrument on the market. This is only a developing company, and is composed of some of the leading citizens of this city--men of means and progressive in ideas."
"When will your company begin placing instruments on the market?"
"Very soon; but the date is not yet positively fixed."
"What are the plans of the company in this regard?"
"My understanding is the beginning will be to establish long distance telephone stations on the land, then put it on the ocean steamers as soon as the steam ship companies can be convinced of its utility and practicability."
"What do you claim for your invention, and how is it constructed?"
"This instrument is to establish electric communication between vessels at sea, or between two more places on land without a wire or other artificial conductor, by means of an apparatus at the sending station, connected with the ground and a similar apparatus at the receiving station, also connected with the ground one being electrified to a positive potential and the other negative potential; so that either will respond to a change of potential in the other. At one station there is buried in the ground a plate of copper about five feet square and around this plate is placed fine coke, and at the other station is placed a zinc plate of the same size, with coke placed around it constituting a battery. The wire which leads from the telephone runs to these plates; the other wire runs through two inductor coils of very high resistance; the primary one is connected to the transmitter, in which there is a polished platinum point; one conduct is secured to the bottom of a hard rubber vessel, in which is placed a solution of sulphuric acid and bichromatic of potash, the upper contact point being secured to a diaphragm, which is made of wood. There are six cells of the battery in this primary circuit. The secondary wire of this coil is connected to the primary of another coil of the same resistance and then to the ground plate; the secondary one of the second coil is connected with the receiving instrument. There is no limit to the distance this instrument will work, and it will work as telegraphy just as well as telephony."
Mr. Egan is working on several other valuable patents, the details of which are not now ready for publication. He however, has put in an interference suit at Washington against the alleged patent for telegraphy with trains in motion. Among the things exhibited was a photograph taken by a Zanesville photographer of an instrument for this purpose, taken a year prior to the issue of the patent of the other party.