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Who Invented The Microphone?

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Emile BerlinerEmile Berliner.

Did you know that the microphone was developed for the use with Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone? After a young inventor saw the use of the telephone, he realized that there was room for improvement with the sound quality. Actually the Bell Telephone Company was impressed so much by the microphone, they bought it for $50,000 and had the inventor come work for them! If you want to learn more about the inventor of the microphone, then read on.

Berliner's microphoneBerliner’s microphone. © LOC.

Emile Berliner

Emile Berliner was born in Germany in 1851. Just 19 years of age he immigrated to the United States. He studied physics at Cooper Institute. When Berliner attended the centennial exposition, he had the pleasure of seeing the first telephone. He noticed that the sound quality was not great so he set about to improve it. In 1876 is when Berliner first invented the microphone. Berliner was just 25 years of age. He was also the creator of the gramophone which he patented in 1887. Berliner is also credited with inventing the loom and an early version of the helicopter.

David Edward HughesDavid Edward Hughes.

Carbon Microphones

David E. Hughes created the first carbon microphone in 1878. This was the prototype for microphones that are widely used today. This old microphone is still the model for many of today’s microphones. Carbon microphones were actually used for amplifiers for a while before the use of vacuum tubing. They are still, to this day, are being built and sold. Their ability to amplify sound had them used for hearing aids for a short period of time before it was replaced again by vacuum tubing.

Mass produced electret microphone

It wasn’t until 1964 when 2 Bell Laboratories researchers, Gerhard M. Sessler and James E. West,  came up with the electro acoustic transducer, or more commonly known as the electret microphone. This type of microphone was more reliable, accurate, compact and cheaper than predecessor models. It has been highly used in telecommunications industries and media. These types of microphones are produced by the millions each year. Microphones are a part of all things that have to do with sound transmissions and recordings.