Journey Of Microphone From Wired To Wireless

By: Victor Epand

The word microphone has actually come from two Greek words, micro that means small and phone that means voice. Microphone's history started with the telephone transmitter, which was developed by Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Grey simultaneously.

The first microphone can be called a variable resistance device. That had a mouthpiece, which was funnel shaped and its membrane diaphragm was stretched. The membrane diaphragm was the base of this mouthpiece. A metal cup used to be there just below the diaphragm. A metal pin used to go down to the cup right through the diaphragm. There was dilute acid in the cup. The fix resistance was shown by an ohmmeter that was located between the pin and the cup. If the diaphragm moves, then the pin also moves up and down with it in the liquid. And this makes the resistance vary accordingly. This microphone was a wired microphone.

In 1900 telephone transmitter was the only kind of microphone which was available. Several new kinds of microphones emerged after the radio power increased. Multiple microphones were used in those days. They used to have only one mouthpiece.

Lt Ditchman started another system. He put a set of microphones in a stand and rotated them in the intervals. He did this to avoid their overheating. But these multiple microphones had some drawbacks. One of the most serious problems was that if one of the microphones faced a short circuit problem then it spread rapidly to the others. Rudolph Goldschmidt patented a circuit that later solved this problem.

In 1879-81, Edison and Dolbear invented the condenser transmitter. Previously it was made for telephones, so it was not very good for microphones. But later on it was redeveloped and made suitable for them.

By 1906, Fessenden invented two microphones which were able to handle 15 Amperes of current and that too without burning up. One of them was of condenser type and the other one was of watercooled carbon granule type.

These are all wired microphones. But as time passed, wired microphone started becoming a bit problematic for people. People wanted something which will be more user-friendly and which will give them some added facilities. In order to satisfy that need wireless microphones were invented.

In the year 1951 John. F. Stephens made a wireless microphone. Actually he made it for a navy musical show. In that show, each and every player and singer was given one piece each.

A manufacturer of German Audio Equipment called Senheisser exhibited one wireless microphone. Telefunkun marketed this product as Microport from 1958 onwards.

There is a bit of confusion about who was the actual inventor of this tool. A German equipment manufacturer called Beyerdynamic claimed that Hung.C.Lin invented the first ever-wireless microphone. They also claimed that a film called 'My Fair Lady' first used this type of microphone in the year 1964. Rex Harrison was the actor who first used this.

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