John Stone Stone

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
John Stone Stone
Born (1869-09-24)September 24, 1869
Died May 20, 1943(1943-05-20) (aged 73)
Residence United States
Nationality American
Fields Electrical engineering
Notable awards IEEE Medal of Honor[1] (1923)

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


Early years[edit]

Stone was born in Dover, now Manakin village, in Goochland County Virginia.[2] The son of Charles Pomeroy Stone, the American Civil War general and engineer, and Annie Jeannie [Stone] Stone.[3] 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 had 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, Massachusetts. 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.[4]

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[edit]

In the following years, he attended the school of mines of Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University. His studies were mathematics, physics, chemistry and electrical engineering, and his course at Johns Hopkins was practically a post-graduate course, though no actual degree was required for admission. He entered the laboratory of the American Bell Telephone Co. in Boston, in 1890, as an experimentalist, and afterward was retained as the company's expert. He was a professional consulting electrical engineer on his own account, during 1899-1902, after which he became vice-president and chief engineer of the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Co. and in 1908 became its president.

Telegraphy work[edit]

He was also special lecturer on electrical oscillations and their applications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a number of years. He 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 (loading).[4] Stone initiated research into loading at AT&T but his system was eventually not used, AT&T preferring the loading coil method.

Wireless work[edit]

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.[4]

After early research at American Telegraph & Telephone, Stone created his own company to build transmitting stations for the U.S. Navy. In 1907, Stone started in Boston the Society of Wireless Telegraph Engineers (SWTE). He won the Franklin Institute Edward Longstreth Medal in 1913.[5] He invented the Stone common battery system and helped create the carrier current system of transmission. J. S. Stone's tuned circuits for radio transmitters and receivers had precedence over Guglielmo Marconi's similar system.

Other important inventions of his in wireless telegraphy are the "direction finder," an apparatus by means of which the wireless telegraph equipment of any vessel may be used to enable the navigator to determine the direction from which wireless telegraph signals are coming, thus locating the bearing or direction from his vessel of any wireless telegraph station on another ship or on shore and enabling him to determine his bearings in the thickest weather at a far greater distance than he could hear a fog signal or even see a light in clear weather,—it will indicate the direction or bearing of a wireless station twenty to seventy-five miles away, to within two-thirds of a point—a system by which the messages are automatically rendered secret or illegible except at the station at which they are intended to be received; and methods and apparatus for simultaneously transmitting and receiving wireless telegraph signals; relaying wireless telegraph messages; directing signals so thajt they shall not go out in all directions as they do at present, and for multiplex wireless telegraphy. These wireless telegraphy inventions were all owned and controlled by the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Co. He is also the inventor of a system of wireless telephony now used by the Radio Telephone Co. Mr. Stone was a member of the International Electrical Congress which met at St. Louis in 1904, at which he read a paper on "The Theory of Wireless Telegraphy."[4]

Later years[edit]

Stone spoke on the "Hazards of Wireless Telegraphy Installations" and brought out the fact that the chief hazard in connection with wireless telegraphy was due to the increasing of the potential of adjacent electric wires in the vicinity of the wireless headquarters.[6]

At the annual meeting of the Institute of Radio Engineers, held at Columbia University on January 6, the election of the following officers for 1915 was announced: president, John Stone Stone. The Institute held its regular meeting at Columbia University, New York, on February 3. Stone delivered a presidential address and a paper on "The Effect of the Spark on the Oscillations of an Electrical Circuit". The paper described the theory of oscillating circuits having sources of both linear and logarithmic decrements within themselves. Among those who discussed the paper was Jonathan Zenneck, of Germany.[7] In March 1915, Stone discussed Edwin H. Armstrong's paper on "Recent Developments in the Audion Receiver" and spoke of some early work with amplifiers[7][8]

Once married and divorced, Stone died in San Diego, California on May 20, 1943 and is buried in Mt. Hope cemetery alongside his mother Jeanne Stone and sister Egypta Stone Wilson.

Other activities[edit]

Among his political and American activities, he was as a member of the American Defense Society's Board of Trustees. He was also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science; past president and vice-president of the Society of Wireless Telegraph Engineers; vice-president of the Wireless Telegraph Association of America; member of the American Electrochemical Society; Associate of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers; member of the Society of Arts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; member of the Mathematical and Physical Club; the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity,[9] the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association of New England and of the Aztec Club of 1847; the St. Botolph, Technology and Papyrus clubs of Boston, the National Arts Club of New York, and the Army and Navy, and Cosmos clubs of Washington, DC.[4]



See also[edit]

Invention of radio, electromagnetic waves, mutual inductance, high frequency, alternating current
bolometer, Lloyd Espenschied, Boston Navy Yard
spark gap transmitter, break key, wireless telegraph, antenna

Further reading[edit]


General information
  1. ^ IEEE Global History Network (2011). "IEEE Medal of Honor". IEEE History Center. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Homans, J. E., Linen, H. M., & Dearborn, L. E. (1900). The cyclopedia of American biography. New York: The press association compilers. p. 369."Stone, John Stone"
  4. ^ a b c d e National cyclopaedia of American biography. (1892).
  5. ^ "Franklin Laureate Database - Edward Longstreth Medal 1913 Laureates". Franklin Institute. Retrieved November 13, 2011. 
  6. ^ The standard, Volume 66. Standard Publishing, 1910. Pg 207
  7. ^ a b Wireless world, Volume 3 By Wireless Society of London. s.n., 1915.
  8. ^ John L. Hogan, jun. also gave the results of some comparisons of sensitiveness and reliability between a number of forms of heterodyne receiver, including the audion types.
  9. ^ Catalogue. (1899). Alpha Delta Phi. Page 641.
  10. ^ American Institute of Physics, American Physical Society, & Cornell University. (1893). Physical review. Lancaster, Pa. [etc.]: Published for the American Physical Society by the American Institute of Physics [etc.]. Page 398.
  11. ^ Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. (1887). Transactions of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. Montreal: Canadian Society of Civil Engineers. Page 164.

External links[edit]