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September 1968


Author Affiliations

630 W 168th St New York

Arch Otolaryngol. 1968;88(3):345-346. doi:10.1001/archotol.1968.00770010347031

To the Editor.—When delivering the first E. P. Fowler Memorial Lecture at the Centennial Meeting of the American Otological Society (Hollywood Beach, Fla, April 18-20, 1968), Dr. Gordon D. Hoople told how an otologist had contributed to engineering.1 It seems that Dr. Clarence J. Blake, having just learned of the function of the tympanic membrane as a receiver, had given valuable advice to Alexander Graham Bell when the latter constructed his electromagnetic telephone receiver that was patented in 1874. Dr. Blake was president of the American Otological Society in 1877 and 1878.

There is another, very similar and related story. It also involves the construction of a telephone receiver and the advice given by a medical person. Werner von Siemens, who by that time had already several other important inventions to his credit (electroplating, needle telegraph, electrical dynamo, among others) attempted to improve the one obvious shortcoming of Bell's

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