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The San Francisco call. [volume] (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, July 09, 1899, Image 22

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*y+ MERICA Is the birthplace of the
f I telephone. Its discovery was made
f— j generally known In Philadelphia
V. I during June, 1876, at the Centennial
JL Exposition, and the story of Its In
vention Is in many respects the
most marvelous and interesting part of
this one of the world's wonders.
Alexander Graham Bell, the genius who
gave it scientific birth, was born in Edin
burgh, Scotland, In 1847. His father. Alex
ander Mellville Bell, was the inventor of
what Is known as '-visible speech"— a sys
tem of teaching deaf mutes how to speak
by Indicating to them through visible
characters the combinations of the vocal
chords necessary to produce articulate
sounds. To the life work of his father
young Bell decided to devote himself.
After a preparatory training he entered
London University in 1567, but his health
failed him and he left shortly afterward.
In 1670, In company "with his parents, he
went to Canada.
Realizing that the United States offered
a broader field for the work that he had
In view, young Bell In 1872 came to the
United States and settled in Boston,
where he Introduced his father's system
of visible speech for the education of
deaf mutes. He supported himself at first
with private classes.
Meanwhile young Bell had commenced
experiments In that branch of physics and
electricity which embraces sound. The art
of telegraphy afforded an alluring field for
research, and about the time he came to
this country he conceived the Idea that a
system of multiple telegraphy might be
evolved from the principle tnat the va
rious chords of a musical Instrument are
■sensitive to sounds of different pitch.
While In Canada he worked out a system
of multiple telegraphy on this basis, and
upon locating in Boston he interested
Gardiner Hubbard and Thomas Sanders,
two gentlemen of wealth, in his experl-
They had confidence in the young man,
and the three entered a partnership, it
being agreed that Messrs. Hubbaxd and
Sanders should defray the expenses of
the experiments necessary to complete
Bell's system of telegraphy, and for tak
ing out necessary patents
. Teaching was. absolutely Bell s onl>
means of support. He spent all day in the
class room, and when night cam© devoted
his time to study and experiment, Borne
time, in 1874 there occurred to him the idea
that possibly the human voice itself might
lie transmitted end reproduced by means
of the electric current. His partners,
Messrs. Hubbard and Sanders, preferred,
however, that the young man should de
vote himself to the completion of his
system of multiple telegraphy, and rather
discouraged his seemingly impracticable
Idea for the transmission of speech by the
electric current.
The year of 1876 dawned dark and
gloomy enough on the struggling young
inventor. After he had completed his sys
tem of multiple telegraphy and applied
for his patent he found that his title to
an original Invention was contested by
the distinguished scientist, Elisha Gray
of Philadelphia. He went to Washington
to look after his interests, and while
there called on the veteran physicist and
electrician. Professor Joseph Henry, the
secretary of the Smithsonian Institution.
In the course of his interview with Pro
fessor Henry he explained his Ideas for
The Telephone
V T is an American who came nearest
I t<"> solving the problem of the great
! treasure trove of the San Leon
A Church of Mexico. He is J. F. Bell,
a recently returned miner and pros
pector for gold.
"Tt is Bcarcely two summers ago,"
said Mr. Bell, that I was at the heafi
of a quartz milling establishment near
Guadauop<- y Calvo, in Chihuahua.
There were aboul fifty swarthy and
powerful peons, or semi-slave, half
breeds, working under me, and I had
.absolute power over them. I also had
a privilege of taking on new hands.
"One day a curious little Mexican ap
plied for work at the mill. He seemed
to >>c a man of Intelligence above the
average, and had evidently traveled a
great distance. He looked very diminu
tive beside the six f < •< > t 'greasers,' who
were able to carry 500 pounds of gold
quartz on their backs, but 1 -took pity
on him and hired him. •
"He worked faithfully and well to the
limit of his strength. IJe had nothing
to do with the 'greasers' -who were
about him on every Hide.
"One night I heard a faint rap on my
door Just as I was retiring. I askr-d
the visitor in, and found It to be my
curious workman. His face was the
picture of misery. 'I have a great se
cret to tell you,' he paid. 'I can trust
no one but you and 1 cannot longer re
main silent. You will never regret
granting me this request.
" 'Look at these, sir,' he eaid. softly,
putting Into my hands some of the
queerest octagon-shaped gold coins of
antique design that I had ever seen.
'Po you know what they are? Well, I
-will tell you. They are part of the hid
den treasures of Kan Leon.'
"My veins tingled at the sound. I
knew the history of th<> country well
enough to know that In 1856, duri-ng a
temporary disturbance of a revolution
ary nature, so frequent in < >!d Mexico,
the rich treasures of the San Leon
church, amounting to some $8,000,000
in gold, together with valuable relics
and altar pieces, were stolen and car
ried into the mountains, no one knew
"I turned the coins over in my hand,
feeling a queer sense of stepping upon
perilous but fascinating ground. 'And
do you know where this treasure Is? 1 I
asked. The little Mexican placed his
hand on his heart as he Raid, 'Before
God, I swear it!' Then after a pause,
'Listen, senor. while I tell you a little
of my history.
"'My people* are from Toluca, near
the City of M< Kico. I was an
only son. A little peon devil,
With Home of my father's blood in
his vein's, was brought up with me.
He was of the lower order and wan
thrifty, content with little. When he
became old enough to shift for himself
ho bought a H t tie herd of goats and
tended them himself. One day ap he
was gathering them together to drive
them down the canyon out of reach of
the mountain lions he missed one. He
the construction of the telephone. He
then wrote to his father and mother In
Canada, telling- them of his talk with Pro
fesser Henry.
"I felt," said he. "so much encouraged
from his (Professor Henry's) interest, that
I determined to ask his advice about The
apparatus I have designed for the trans
mission of the human voice by telegraph.
I explained the idea, and said:
" 'What would you advise me to do
publish it and let others work it out, or
attempt to solve the problem myself?"
"He said he thought it was the germ of
a great invention, and advised me to work 1
It out myself instead of publishing.
"I Bald i recognized that there were
mechanical difficulties In the way tiiat
rendered the plan impracticable at the
present time. I added that T felt that I
ha.i not the electrical knowledge neces
sary to overcome the difficulties. His
laconic answer was:
•' 'Gel It.' "
The letter written after Bell's return
to Boston, and he started In on his experi
mental work with renewed energy. Tie
taxed his resources, financial and physi
cal, to the limit, and then he resolved on
a bold step. On March IS he wrote to his
father and mother:
"' have put off my pupils and all my
classes until the first of April. ■ .-Flesh and
blood could not stand much longer the
strain I have had upon me. Professional
work is all In confusion, and the only way
is to cut the Gordian knot and throw up
■ everything 1 until the end is achieved."
X.l] worked on now day and night.
studying and experimenting. Meanwhile
the situation had become complicated.
•In the course of his association with his
partner, Mr. Hubbard, he had met the
charming young daughter of that distin
guished philanthropist, then Miss Mabel
[übbard. They had fallen in love with
one another. The pride of the Scotch
gentleman of small means, which has
been so charmingly characterized in the
novels of Sir "Walter Scott, was exag
gerated in young Bell. The expense of
his actual experiments •In multiple tele
graphy had been defrayed by his part
ners in the enterprise. But that or the
telephone experiments fell entirely on
him, and his slender. purse was taxed to
the utmost to meet the calls upon it. He
was unwilling to go to the father of his
fiancee and ask a loan to help him defray
his living expenses, and those incident to
the purchase and construction 01 expen
sive apparatus. Neither was he willing
to turn to his parents for aid; and with
his sole source of revenue cut off by the
dismissal of his classes, he found himself
reduced to the verge of actual want. At
this iuuctnre a friend came forward and
loaned him a small sum of money on the
security of his prospective earnings from
teaching during the coming winter.
With this he struggled on. The date of
the real discovery of the telephone might
be said to be June 2, 1575. On that day
Bell was standing by one of his harmonic
instruments, when his assistant accident
ally tapped the connecting instrument
■with his hand. The slight noise proceed
ing from the nearby receiver would have
escaped the attention of a less skilled ob
server than Bell. To him it sounded as
distinct as the crack of a pistol. Again
and again the excited young scientist
made his assistant repeat the lapping
with his finger on the connected har
monic Instrument, while he stood with
his ear to. the receiving instrument, list
ening delightedly to the sounds that is
sued from it. Within the hour he gave
orders for the construction of exactly
such a telephone as in the preceding fall
he had described to Dr. Blake. The elec
tric speaking telephone was then a prac
tical certainty. ;V- _ .
One hour after the application was filed
started back, calling for the missing
" 'He heard faint cries afar, but only
after great difficulty and in the closing
h'iur of day did he find the beast, which
had wandered in "nehind a ledge of rock
and could not retreat. As the herder
advanced the goat pushed forward till
Mexicun Peon Carrying five n ur >dred Pounds of Ore on rjls Bac^.
both stood in a dark and weird cave.
Then the man struck a match to find
his goat, when he saw a gleaming cru
cifix In the darkness beyond.
" 'Along on the ledges about him
hung what were once leather pouches,
but the weight of their load had long
burst them, and the floor of the cave
was a vast heap of dust-covered gold
coin. Crazed with amazement and ter
ror. Paolo seized a handful of thes,?
coins and dashed out of the cave and
thence on down the mountain side as
if pursued by demons.
" 'He kept his secret well for five
days; then he came to me, his one
friend and confidant. When I saw the
coins I was crazy. We planned to go
up to the mountain canyon the next
day, and we did bo. I saw that the
man spoke the truth. I drove my hand
into the heaps Of gold, senor, up to the
shoulder. It wan the lust treasure of
San Leon without the slightest doubt.
1 have a pistol — here it is, senor — you
see, the hammer will not stay cocked.
Well. In handling the piece there the
pistol went off and shot poor Paolo
through the heart. Dumb with terror,
I seized hat and staff and dashed from
the cave, hurrying below.
" 'For five days there was no search
for poor Paolo. Then my aunt came to
me and said, "Francesco, you have on
Paolo's hat. You must have seen him
last. Where is he?" I was Bpeechless
with fright. •'Moreover," sh>- contin
ued, "Here are some strange coins I
founded hidden in his blankets. Whose
are they?" I confess that 1 could have
snatched them from her hand, but I
restrained myself. Two o£ the coins
were sent to. the City of .Mexico, and
Immediately Government officials were
out there with the news that these
coins were part of the lost treasure
of San Leon.
" 'The country was in an uproar over
the discovery. It was thought that
Paolo was at the head of a band, and
that they were somewhere in the moun
tains still with the great treasure. A
hundred of the civil military were or
dered to patrol all the mountain passes
of the district. In terror of apprehen
sion, senor, I fled, and here I am.'
"The man's story was so straightfor
ward that I never questioned it. nor do
I to this day. When he proposed that
we return for the treasure, for he vow
ed that he would never dare to do so
unless I went ahead of him and turned
poor Paolo's open eyes to the wall while
we gathered up the golden store, I was
with him. The gamble and danger of
the game fascinated me. I took $300.
intrusted it to him, gave him a Tiew
suit of clothes and a rifle and. equipped
with a camping outfit, started by rail
to the south. Near our destination we
left the railroad and proceeded on
horseback, securing good animals from
the ranchers.
"We had not penetrated the moun
tain district far — our very promised
'and — when we happened upon three of
the patrolling soldiers. They halted us
and demanded to know our mission.
Paolo told them that I was from the
States and seeking a purchase of a
ranch, that I- could not speak a word
of Spanish and that he was my valet
and interpreter. We exchanged com
pliments and passed on. But only a
few miles further they came after us
pellmell and plied us with more ques
tions, leaving us a second time. When
this was repeated a third time Fran
cesco whispered. "Senor, you down the
fat one ahead and I will kill the other
two. I am a dead shot. We cannot be
stopped here on the very threshold of
"But I demurred. There was to be
no killing for me. I knew the conse
quences, and preferred that the gold
A MAN whose boast is that he ha^taken one hun
dred and sixty-two lives and whose proud delight
is to enlarge upon the several and original meth
ods employed in this cold-blqoded butchery can
hardly be believed possible In this civilized close
of the nineteenth century. In the olden days of French
revolution, the Spanish Inquisition and the gory red ax of
robber German barons, suoh characters cut out many a
cruel page of bloody history, but for such a monster to ex
ist in th^se days of mercy and to have ruled at the very
door of our own free country seems almost incredible. Yet
such a one does live and, until quite recently, held full and
brutal sway as "professional executioner" for Maceo in
Santiago de Cuba. This brute, for he Is little else. Is named
"Tien Con." ' He is a burly negro, coal black, with beetling
brows and sunken, beady eyes of snakelike brilliancy, cruel,
cold and seldom blinking. His large mouth, massive chin
and strong white dog teeth give but a hint of his marvel
ous physical strength. His muscles stand out on arms and
shoulders like great ripe cocoanuts. Never has "Tren Con"
been known to miss or take two blows with his keen ma
cheta on a quivering, helpless victim.
Maceo made this black fiend his official executioner with
full discretionary power, and the dark tales of devilish
tortures as well as the negro's own boast of 162 heads indi
cate that h- carried out the duties of his horrible office
well and to the full limit of authority.
"Tren Con" is now in the hands of the American soldiers
at Morro to be tried for murder, and will doubtless soon be
a thing of the past.
He was .captured with thirty other robbers, members of
a band under his own leadership, who had been the terror
of the country people until the boys in blue "rounded up"
the bandits, capturing the thirty aforementioned besides
killing thirteen.
Since his lmprisomnenl he has neve* uttered a single word
of regret for the many lives that are written against his- name
In the book of Judgment; but on the contrary has taken espe
cial delight In- regaling bia guards with sickening accounts of
Ingenious methods for extracting information from political
prisoners and the .proper etiquette governing the office of oub
lic "executions. He seems to fear nothing in the realization of
the fact that he must Boon pay the penalty of his crimes by
himself suffering the death penalty, and in discussing the mat
ter merely says that he could perform the job better than any
bungling American executioner. He is closely watched lest he
should increase his horrible record of 162 lives to 183— with him
self in the double role of slayer and victim. %
should be untarnished with blood. The
soldiers demanded that we go clown to
the city and $et permission of the gov
ernment to pass into the mountains.
This I knew was impossible to do just
then, and we went down in the
direction thirty miles utterly disconso
late, my companion continually calling
to me to wheel round and do the trick
that would liberate us.
"Not da-ring to enter the city, we
ramped outside for flve days, unde
cided. For three days we argued; then
th^i« came a woman on the scene. She
was a very beautiful creature, evident
ly Francesco's former sweetheart. She
was the only one in the country who
had recognized him as a new personal
ity. For a day or two they mooned
about the place, and then the girl dis
with the Commissioner of Patents Elisha
Gray of Philadelphia also filed a caveat
warning Inventors against any attempt to
patent an instrument such as the tele
phone, as he was doing some work looking
to the transmission of speech by the elec
tric current. Had this been filed before
Bell's application, there is a possibility
that he would not have been granted a
Patent No. 174.465, perhaps the most im
portant ever allowed by the United States
Patent Office, was issued on March 7. IS7G.
to Graham Bell for his original invention
of an electric speaking telephone.
Meanwhile Bell sent the rude instru
ments which constituted his first tele
phone on to the Centennial Exposition in
Philadelphia. They were placed in an ob
scure corner of the Massachusetts ex
hibit, and attracted little or no attention.
Gardiner Hubbard was attending the
Exposition during the latter part of June.
He learned that on Sunday, June 28, the
board of judges of the exposition, includ
ing Professor Henry and Sir William
Thomson, since Lord Kelvin, would. In
company with the Emperor of Brazil, in
spect some of the inventions in harmonics
of the distinguished scientist, Elisha
Gray. As a special favor Mr. Hubbard
obtained from them a promise to allow
young Bell to show his telephone contriv
ance to the party. He then telegraphed
Bell to come to Philadelphia.
Class work at this time was pressing,
and Bell had about made up his mind
to let the night train for New York and
Philadelphia leave without him when
some one announced that Miss Hubbard
was awaiting him in her carriage.
"Why. aren't you ready to go to
Philadelphia?" was the question which
greeted him.
The young man began to explain about
duties which would deter him from tak
ing the trip.
"Well, come take a drive with me."
said his fiancee. He got In the carriage
Immediately and was driven to the tta
tion. There Miss Hubbard descended. Mr.
Bell did likewise.
The New York train was already wait-
Ing on the track, with steam up, ready
to pull out.
"Mr. Bell, you are going to Philadelphia
to exhibit your invention," was the de
cided order that the young man received.
And go to Philadelphia he did.
The next mortilng Bell arrived In Phil
adelphia and prepared to exhibit his tele
phone. Sir William Thomson Professor
Henry and the Emperor of Brazil had
taJten a long time in examining the really
remarkable invention of El!sh,a Gray and
must have felt considerably bored when
young Bell finally gained their attention.
But he had not proceeded far before they
became intensely interested. After ex
plaining the theory of the telephone, Bell
placed Sir William Thomson at one of his
instruments, and stationing another mem
ber of the party at the other, he told them
to go ahead and talk to one another.
"To be, or not to be, that is the ques
tion?" began Sir "William. "Do you hear
me?" The answer came back, "Yes,
quite plainly." The memberg of the party
were simply astounded. The Emperor of
Brazil was then stationed at one of the
instruments and carried on an animated
conversation with Elisha Gray, who
stated his wonder at the marvelous in
vention of Bell.
For a week Sir William, Professor
Henry and others experimented with and
examined the telephone instruments.
When they had satisfied themselves as to
the great scientific and practical value of
the invention, no words of praise from
them for Bell and his telephone could
prove too strong.
"Tren Con," N\aceo's Official Executioner.
"Francesco was like one insane after
that. What tidings the girl brought or
whether he told her his secret or not,
I never discovered. Once more and for
the last time Francesco asked me if I
would go on up the mountains, killing
everything in our way to success. Still
I stood my ground, and the next morn
ing at daybreak I awoke and "there by
my side stood my Francesco's rille and
belt, all the money, with a strict memo
randum of accounts, and the clothing I
had given him even to the last stitch.
When I hunted about camp for the
m^n he was gone.
"I tracked him toward the railroad
and followed on blindly over the ties.
A mile beyond the curve I saw a wo
man on the railroad bridge, bent down
afterward announced the marriage < v
Mils Mabel Hubbard to Alexander Gra
ballc principles a the inst rumen > s wfccn
now transmit messages^ amounting -im«i
the Ullions annually are Ide ««caiiy mo
same as those first applied by Bell, me
remainder has been a matte,r of evolution
and of adaptation Of late the F-lnclpal
movements have been effected a!on« mo
line of long distance telephony untl con
versatlona can now be carried on betweui
stations 2000 miles apart. ., rm . r .
Bell himself 'discovered that a armor
convenient form of receiver than the
piece of iron attached to a membrane was
one which substituted a circular iron dibK
tirmlv clasped in front of a magnet. This
was found to vibrate in much beuar
unison with the transmitter into which
words were spoken at the other end or
the circuit. •,-.-:.• "* '„ ,_,,.
Although a precisely similar contriv
ance to the Bell receiver, as it Is now
generally called, will serve as a trans
mitter as well, an improved form or
transmitter, known as the Blake carbon
transmitter! has now been generally
adopted. This form of transmitter sub
stitutes for the magnet behind the iron
diaphragm a number of small pieces or
loose carbon placed between a carbon dia
phragm and a solid support. Carbon was
found to be preferable to metal on ac
count of its peculiar properties for trans
mitting sound. So delicate and suscepti
ble to sound is the carbon transmitter
that the footfalls of a fly crossing the
carbon disk produce a perceptible sound
in the telephone. _
The carbon transmitter substitutes ror.
the impulses of electricity, which were
induced in the original form of transmit
ter by the action of the iron diaphragm
on the magnet, an electric current which
passes directly through the carbon dia
phragm and the loose carbon behind it.
In this case, the vibrations of the voice
falling on the carbon disk affect the cur
rent directly.
The electrical impulses are accentuated
by the motion transmitted through the
disk to the loose carbon. In this shape
they are transmitted to the wire, ana
a series of impulses corresponding ex
actly. in rapidity and shape or quality to
those sent out are then reconverted Into
facsimile pounds at the receiving Instru
ment. , ..
The method described Is known as the
battery system, and is in general use at
present on all lines of any great length.
In the most improved instruments th«
Blake carbon transmitter is used In con
nection with the Bell receiver.
Specially contrived batteries are now
used for reinforcing the current on long
distance lines, and magnetic coils ar»
used to convert the electric vibrations
caused by the voice into suitable form
for long distance transmission. A thou
sand improvements in call bells for at
tracting the attention of the central sta
tion in the arrangement and construction
of the transmitting and receiving instru
ments themselves, in the system of switch
boards and switches employed at the cen
tral stations, and in methods of making
connections, have been added since the
telephone was first put into practical
operation by Graham Bell and his asso
as if weeping. I came upon her. It
was the beautiful, creature I had seen
about camp. I asked her what was the
matter. She only pointed into the river
far below. There I discerned the still
form of Francesco floating face up in
the Hjnpid waters. He was a suicide
"The reason? I never discovered
whether it was love •or madness. I
think, however, that in his cupidity he
really killed his half-brother Paolo
was insane with remorse, and the love
affair aggravated him to desperation
Of that I do not know, but one thine
I am certain, Francesco had the secret
of the great San Leon treasure which
I came within an ace of sharing with
him, but which will now remain a so
cret probably for another hundred yea.
it may be a thousand years." '

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