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CHARLES BOURSEUL

An inspector at the Paris telegraph, son of an officer, Engineer Charles Bursel joined history as the man who developed the theoretical basis of telephone communications. He was sure that people would always continue to communicate over distances by means of electric current transmitted over wires.

Bursel had the idea of telephone calling since 1849, that is, eleven years before Antonio Meucci's invention, twelve years before the experiments of Johann Philipp Reis and a whole twenty-seven years before Alexander Graham Bell filed his patent application.

Thus, it was hard to suspect Charles Bursel of plagiarism. According to one version, he was also the first to use the word 'telephone'.

In 1854, after five years of research, during which many experiments conducted used a current source, a coil of wire and metal plates, Bursel published his dissertation. In his work he first described the principle of the telephone. At the core of his idea was the convertion of sound vibrations into electrical current and then back again. Bursel proposed to convert sound vibrations into electrical current through a metal disk, which would close its contacts under the influence of acoustic waves, similar to the way that the telegraph key closes its contacts.

In fact, the French engineer presented a conceptually new scheme. Earlier designs looked simple: sound vibrations - the transmission environment - the same sound. And this became: sound vibrations - to transform them into current - current transfer - converting back into sound.

The idea was great but the practical implementation of telephony had not been reached. Probably the main reason for this outcome was the telegraphic approach.

Theoretical contemporaries did not fail to take advantage of the very promising idea and started to create their own apparatus based on his phones. All the while, Charles continued to work as a simple telegraph inspector in Paris, having received an award for his outstanding intellectual work and a brief mention in some directories