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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 38

Testimony from the Chicago Tribune

page 13

Testimony from the Chicago Tribune.

The Audiphone—A Most Satisfactory Test.

"In the parlors of the First Methodist Church yesterday afternoon, Mr. R. S. Rhodes, the inventor of the audiphone, submitted his instrument to some severe and very interesting tests, in the presence of a number of people, including Mr. G. C. Tallerday, of the Medical Times, Dr. T. W. Brophy, Prof. Swing, Mr. L. M. Stone, and Mr. Gray, of the Interior.

Already The Tribune has contained a brief account of this wonderful invention, and the interest it has awakened among deaf people is but a revival of that over the announcement made a year or so ago by Edison when he declared himself the discoverer of an appliance by which the man or woman whose ears were utterly useless should be able to hear, not only ordinary conversation, but should be able to appreciate the pleasures of music. When Edison failed to fulfill his promises, people generally, and many medical men, too, scouted the idea of ever being able to reach the point which the inventor of the quadruplex telegraph thought he had reached; but Mr. Rhodes, a deaf man himself, when the telephonic diaphragm appeared, caught a suggestion from it, and the result was his audiphone.

It is in shape like a square Japanese fan, and is made of a composition the major portion of which is vulcanite. At the back of this thing there is a cord, stretching from the upper edge to the handle. By means of this cord the instrument is tuned like a violin, and the tension is regulated according to the distance the sound has to travel. The upper edge of this audiphone is placed against the two upper teeth, and the vibrations received on its surface are conveyed by the medium of the teeth, and the nerves of the teeth to the acoustic nerves, and produce upon them an action page 14 similar to the action produced by sound upon the drum of the ear.

In addition to experiments made yesterday with people who were not completely devoid of hearing, two boys were made to hear the human voice for the first time in their lives. One, 17 years of age, was deaf and dumb, while the other was about 15, and, although he could speak, he was perfectly deaf. At first the sounds were strange to them, but after a little they signified that they could hear them distinctly, and understand perfectly that they were sounds. Of course, in order that they may comprehend what the meaning of the words spoken is they will have to be taught.

Medical men and others were charged with the experiments, they admired the simplicity of the invention, and there certainly now appears to be no earthly reason why the deaf should remain deaf."