This section is from "Scientific American Supplement Volumes 275, 286, 288, 299, 303, 312, 315, 324, 344 and 358". Also available from Amazon: Scientific American Reference Book.
Telephonic communication between the Opera and the Exhibition of Electricity is obtained by means of twenty conducting wires, which are divided between two halls hung with carpets to deaden external noises. We represent in the accompanying engraving one of these halls, and the one which is lighted by the Lane-Fox system of lamps. As may be seen, there are affixed against the hangings, all around the room, long mahogany boards, to which are fastened about twenty small tablets provided with hooks, from which are suspended the telephones. The latter are connected with the underground conductors by extensible wires which project from the wooden wainscot of which we have just spoken, so that it is very easy for the auditors to put the telephones to their ears.
As the telephones are connected in series of eight with the same couple of microphone transmitters, and as each of these transmitting couples occupies a different position on the stage, it results that the effects are not the same at different points of each hall. Those telephones, for example, which correspond with the foot-lights of the theater are more affected by the sounds of the large instnuments of the orchestra than those which occupy the middle of the foot-lights; but, as an offset to this, the latter are affected by the voice of the prompter. In order to equalize the effects as much as possible, Mr. Ader has arranged it so that the two transmitters of each series shall be placed under conditions that are diametrically opposite. Thus, the transmitter at the end of the foot-lights, on the left side, corresponds with the transmitter of the series to the right, nearest to the middle of the stage; and the arrangement is the same, but in an inverse direction, for the transmitter at the end of the foot-lights to the right. But the series which produces the best effects is, as may be readily comprehended, that which corresponds with the transmitters occupying the middle of the right and left rows. These considerations easily explain the different opinions expressed by certain auditors in relation to the predominant sounds that they have heard, and why it is that some of them who have listened in different parts of the same hall have not had the same impressions. Naturally, the fault has beeen laid to the telephones; but, although these may vary in quality, it is more particularly to the arrangement of the transmitters on the stage that are to be attributed the differences that are noted.
As the Opera does not give representations every day, Mr. Ader has had the idea of occupying the attention of the public on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday with the telephonic effects of flourishes of trumpets, which imitate pretty well the effects of French horns. These experiments have taken place in the hall in which is installed the little theater, and we must really say that in the effects produced French horns count for nothing. - La Lumiere Electrique.