Michael Faraday: A Chemist & A Physicist

An instrumental figure in the history of the telephone and thus the history of the modern telephone answering service is Michael Faraday. Born in Newington Butts on September 22, 1791. He was the third of four children of a poor family. He only received basic education and had to educate himself. He became an apprentice to a local bookbinder and seller at fourteen. He worked for the bookbinder for sever years. During this time, he read many books in order to education himself. Through his reading he developed an interest in science and electricity. Faraday started to attend lectures after his apprenticeship and formed connections that led to him becoming a chemical assistant at the Royal Institution.

As an assistant to Humphry Davy, Faraday studied chlorine and discovered new chlorides of carbon. He experimented on the diffusion of gases and succeeded in liquefying several gases. Faraday also produced several new kinds of glass intended for optical purposes. Also within the topic of chemistry, Faraday came up with a form of the modern Bunsen burner.

Although he discovered many things in the field of chemistry, Faraday is best known for his work with electricity and magnetism. He built two devices to produce electromagnetic rotation. This provides a continuous circular motion from the circular magnetic force around a wire and a wire extending into a pool of mercury with a magnet placed inside that would rotate around the magnet if supplied with current from a chemical battery. It was this invention / discovery that led into what we know of as modern telephones and telecommunications.

A few years after Davy had died, Faraday had come to discover electromagnetic induction. In that field, he discovered this when he wrapped two insulated coils of wire around an iron ring, and found that, upon passing a current through one coil, a momentary current was induced in the other coil. He called this mutual induction.

Diamagnetism is the name Faraday gave when he discovered that many materials exhibit a weak repulsion from a magnetic field. Faraday used a spectroscope to search for the change of spectral lines by an applied magnetic field. He did not get to finish these results because of insufficient equipment.

In his later years, the University of Oxford granted Faraday an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree. He refused to knighted on two occasions and was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1844. Faraday died on August 25, 1867 in his house and was buried in Highgate Cemetery. He will always be remembered as both a talented chemist and physicist. Best known and renowned for his work on magnetism, the telephone and business telephone answering services could not exist without Faradays work. Magnetism is an essential part of any communication over telephone lines.