John Stone Stone bigraphy, stories - American electrical engineer

John Stone Stone : biography

24 September 1869 - 20 May 1943

John Stone Stone (September 24, 1869 – May 20, 1943) was an American mathematician, physicist and inventor. He labored as an early telephone engineer, was influential in developing wireless communication technology, and holds dozens of key patents in the field of "space telegraphy".


Early years

Stone was born in Dover, now Manakin village, in Goochland County Virginia.Clark, G. H. (1946). The life of John Stone Stone, Mathematician, physicist, electrical engineer and great inventor. San Diego, Calif: Lithographed by Frye & Smith, ltd., p. 14 The son of Charles Pomeroy Stone, the American Civil War general and engineer, and Annie Jeannie [Stone] Stone.Homans, J. E., Linen, H. M., & Dearborn, L. E. (1900). The cyclopedia of American biography. New York: The press association compilers. p. 369."" His father fought in the war with Mexico and the civil war, being twice promoted for gallant conduct on the field of battle; was lieutenant-general in the Egyptian army; and hud charge of the department of public works of the kingdom of Egypt, as well as other high positions in that country. His American ancestry dates back to Deacon Gregory Stone and his wife Margaret Garrard, who came from Much Bromley, Essex, England, in 1634, and settled in Cambridge, Mass. Gregory Stone became one of the original proprietors of Watertown, and the line of descent is traced through John, Nathaniel, John, John and Alpheus Stone. John Stone Stone early displayed a fondness for the study of physics and chemistry.National cyclopaedia of American biography. (1892).

His childhood was passed largely in Egypt and Europe. Raised in Cairo, Egypt until 1882, Stone was fluent in Arabic, French, and English; his father tutored him in mathematics. Stone also learned to ride in Egypt and was an excellent horseman. On his family's return to the United States in 1885, Stone attended Columbia Prep, Columbia University school of mines, and Johns Hopkins University.

Middle years

Telegraphy work

He was also special lecturer on electrical oscillations and their applications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a number of years. He has secured over 100 United States patents and a corresponding number in foreign countries, covering various inventions of telegraph and telephone devices and wireless telegraphy. These include an invention for centralizing the energy in telephone systems (1893) which came into very general use in the United States and abroad. In 1897 he received a patent for a method of increasing the efficiency of telephone lines by the increase of the inductance of the line. This method was superseded by one patented by Prof. Pupin.

Wireless work

In 1902-03 he obtained a group of patents covering a system of selective wireless telegraphy free from interference and in 1903 he received a patent covering the first application of the principles of electrical resonance to useful arts. The most important feature of the Stone system of wireless telegraphy is its selectivity and immunity from interference. The one great drawback to wireless telegraphy in the past was its uncertainty due to the interference by atmospheric electricity, as well as by the signals of nearby stations. Like the telephone in its early days, wireless telegraphy was operative only when outside conditions were favorable, and for that reason its use was restricted almost entirely to ships at sea and between ships at sea and the shore. The only efficient means of preventing such interference in the wireless telegraph is Mr. Stone's selective transmitter and receiver, which has been perfected to such a point that interference due to atmospheric electrical disturbances is almost wholly eliminated. With it 1,000 stations may be located within a radius of fifty miles from any city and intercommunicate with one another without mutual interference.

Among the patents issued to Stone, some were of systems of selective wireless telegraph.The Electrical world and engineer. (1903). New York: McGraw Pub. Co.. . There is much similarity between the inventions described by Stone and a patent issued to Nikola Tesla, which in both cases have been the subjects of previous patents. In each case the principle consists in transmitting a signal in waves of two or more frequencies, which implies two or more antenna and transmitting circuits controlled simultaneously by the sending key; and the same number of receiving antenna and receptive circuits, each of the latter being tuned to one of the transmitting circuits. A relay connected in common to the two or more receiving circuits can only be actuated when these several circuits respond simultaneously to waves received. As a consequence, no signals will be received unless they are transmitted in multiple waves of the exact frequencies for which the multiple transmitting and receiving circuits are tuned, the result being that the chances of interference are infinitesimal as are also the chances of a message being read at any other wireless station than that for which it is destined. The Tesla patent is the earliest in date of application (July 16, 1900) and relates to means for transmitting simultaneously the waves of different frequencies and the means of completing the conjoint recording circuit of the receiving station. The Stone patents (the applications for which were filed in January and March 1903) deal with the same subjects, but with much more elaboration with respect to the character of the signals.

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