Francis Blake (telephone)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Francis Blake, Jr. (1850 – January 20, 1913) was born in Needham, Massachusetts, the son of Caroline Burling (Trumbull) and Francis Blake, Sr. and died in Weston, Massachusetts.

In 1879, Francis Blake invented a carbon microphone for use in the telephone, and patented[1] it shortly after Thomas Edison invented a similar microphone that also used carbon contacts. Blake used a carbon button design that initially would not stay in adjustment, but with later improvements proved to be workable. Alexander Graham Bell hired Blake and put him to work with Emile Berliner who also invented a carbon microphone. The improved Berliner-Blake microphone was standard with the Bell company for many years.[2]

Blake worked on the United States Coast Survey from his teenage years through early adulthood (1866-1878). He was a physicist and an amateur photographer.

In 1874, Blake married Elizabeth Livermore Hubbard (1849-1941) whose father provided land in Weston, on which Blake designed and built an elaborate house where he conducted his electrical experiments. They had two children: Agnes (Blake) Fitzgerald (b. 1876) and Benjamin Sewall Blake (b. 1877).

Blake was elected a member of the American Antiquarian Society in 1900.[3]

He died at his home in Boston on January 20, 1913.[4]


  • Canadian patent 10021 for telephone transmitter, granted May 28, 1879, voided March 3, 1887 because of failure to manufacture telephone parts in Canada.
  • US patent granted in 1881


  1. ^
  2. ^ Coe, pages 22, 33, 76
  3. ^ American Antiquarian Society Members Directory
  4. ^ "Francis Blake is Dead". The Marshfield News. Boston. January 30, 1913. p. 2. Retrieved April 8, 2020 – via
  • Lewis Coe, The Telephone and its Several Inventors, McFarland Publishers, 1995.
  • Elton W. Hall, Francis Blake: An Inventor's Life, Massachusetts Historical Society, 2004

External links[edit]