Diaphragm microphone built in Germany by J P Reis, using a sausage skin as a vibrating membrane affected by an electromagnetic receiver.
J J Thomson discovers the electron (at first called 'corpuscles').
Charles Wheatstone is granted a patent (no 2462) for 'telephones in which musical pipes or free tongues are acted upon by wind. Compressed air or gas is admitted to the pipe by means of a value acted upon by the magnetised needle of an electromagnet. The alternation of long and short sounds may be grouped in a similar manner to the long and short lines in the alphabet of a Morse's telegraph.'
W H Smith opens its first lending library and acquires its first print works.
The death of Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's consort. In the following seven days, 70,000 copies of his carte de visite photographic portraits are sold.
German Johann Philipp Reis (1834-1874) invents a Telephon, using vibrating membranes connected to an eletromagnetic receiver.
Image source: Nixdorfmuseum
Celluloid is invented by Alexander Parkes (1813-90) at Birmingham, England.
Excise duty on paper is abolished in Britain.
Thomas Edison prints and distributes the Weekly Herald newspaper on trains between Detroit and Port Huron, Michigan.
Abbé Giacomo Casselli, backed by Emperor Napoléon III, sends a telegraphed picture from Amiens to Paris. The system is similar to F C Bakewell's of 12 years earlier. Casselli subsequently opens telegraph offices throughout France for the transmission of 'holographs'.
The Metropolitan Railway opens in London, the world's first underground line.
Boston Morning Journal is the first US newspaper to be printed on paper made from wood pulp.
Alexandra Palace, future early home of BBC Television, opens.
F B Fenby, an inventor in Worcester, Massachusetts, is granted a US patent for an 'electro-mechanical phonograph', which is never constructed. This marks the first use of the word 'phonograph'.
In UK, Electric Telegraph Act makes disclosure of messages an offence (§20), vesting ‘property’ rights in telegraphic messages in the Postmaster General (§21) and allowing the state to take total control over telegraph services 'where, in the Opinion of One of Her Majesty’s Principal Secretaries of State, an Emergency has arisen in which it is expedient for the Public Service that Her Majesty's Government should have Controul over the Transmission of Messages by the Company’s Telegraphs' (§49).
Louis Hachette publishes the first edition of his dictionary of the French language in collaboration with Emile Littré.
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) [right] proves the theoretical possibility of radio transmission.
Thomas Edison invents a quadruplex telegraph.
Frenchman Louis Arthur Ducos du Hauron (1837-1920) patents a 3,600-lens camera to capture sequential images. It is never built.