Elisha Gray, the great inventor and electrician, was born August 2, 1835 at Barnesville, Belmont county, Ohio. He was, as a child, greatly interested in the phenomena of nature, and read with avidity all the books he could obtain, relating to this subject. He was apprenticed to various trades during his boyhood, but his insatiable thirst for knowledge dominated his life and he found time to study at odd intervals. Supporting himself by working at his trade, he found time to pursue a course at Oberlin College, where he particularly devoted himself to the study of physicial science. Mr. Gray secured his first patent for electrical or telegraph apparatus on October 1, 1867. His attention was first attracted to telephonic transmission during this year and he saw in it a way of transmitting signals for telegraph purposes, and conceived the idea of electro-tones, tuned to different tones in the scale. He did not then realize the importance of his invention, his thoughts being employed on the capacity of the apparatus for transmitting musical tones through an electric circuit, and it was not until 1874 that he was again called to consider the reproduction of electrically-transmitted vibrations through the medium of animal tissue. He continued experimenting with various results, which finally culminated in his taking out a patent for his speaking telephone on February 14, 1876. He took out fifty additional patents in the course of eleven years, among which were, telegraph switch, telegraph repeater, telegraph annunciator and typewriting telegraph. From 1869 until 1873 he was employed in the manufacture of telegraph apparatus in Cleveland and Chicago, and filled the office of electrician to the Western Electric Company. He was awarded the degree of D. S., and in 1874 he went abroad to perfect himself in acoustics. Mr. Gray's latest invention was known as the telautograph or long distance writing machine. Mr. Gray wrote and published several works on scientific subjects, among which were: "Telegraphy and Telephony," and "Experimental Research in Electro-Harmonic Telegraphy and Telephony."

 

 

From A Biographical History of Darke County Ohio, Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago, 1900