William Duddell

Duddell's devices

Oscillograph Duddell Moving Coil.png Oscillograph Time-Index Generator.png Oscillograph Cinematograph Camera.png
Oscillograph recorded on film.png

Duddell moving-coil oscillograph with mirror in oil bath, Top-Middle: Rotating shutter and moving mirror assembly used with Duddell oscillograph, for placing time-index marks next to the waveform pattern. Top-Right: Moving-film camera for recording the waveform. Bottom: Film recording of sparking across switch contacts, as a high-voltage circuit is disconnected.[1][2][3][4]

William Du Bois Duddell (1 July 1872 - 4 November 1917)[5] was a British electro-physicist and electrical engineer. He was privately educated in the UK and France and rose quickly through the prestigious City & Guilds Schools via scholarships. His inventions include the moving coil oscillograph, as well as the thermo-ammeter and thermo-galvanometer.

Prior to the invention of the incandescent light bulb, arc lamps were used to light the streets. They created light by means of an electrical arc between two carbon electrodes. These lamps also produced a constant audible hum. Duddell was appointed in 1899 to solve this problem. As a result of his research (through which he demonstrated the humming was caused by a fluctuating electric current), he invented the singing arc, which could generate musical notes by way of a keyboard which interrupted oscillations in a circuit, making it one of the first examples of electronic music, and the very first that did not use the telephone system as an amplifier or speaker.

When Duddell exhibited the singing arc to the London Institution of Electrical Engineers, arc lamps on the same circuit in other buildings were noticed to play the tones of Duddell's machine. Despite the potential of music delivered over the lighting network, Duddell did not capitalize on his discovery as anything more than a novelty.

Duddell was made a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1907.


  1. ^ Hawkins Electrical Guide, Theo. Audel and Co., 2nd ed. 1917, vol. 6, Chapter 63: Wave Form Measurement, p. 1858, Fig. 2607
  2. ^ Hawkins Electrical Guide, Theo. Audel and Co., 2nd ed. 1917, vol. 6, Chapter 63: Wave Form Measurement, p. 1855, Fig. 2620
  3. ^ Hawkins Electrical Guide, Theo. Audel and Co., 2nd ed. 1917, vol. 6, Chapter 63: Wave Form Measurement, p. 1866, Figs. 2621-2623
  4. ^ Hawkins Electrical Guide, Theo. Audel and Co., 2nd ed. 1917, vol. 6, Chapter 63: Wave Form Measurement, p. 1867, Fig. 2625
  5. ^ British Academy; Henry Colin Gray Matthew, Brian Howard Harrison, British Academy (2004). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography: In Association with the British .... Original from the University of Michigan: Oxford University Press. p. 54. isbn=019861411X. http://books.google.com/books?id=MSoYAAAAIAAJ&q=%22William+Duddell%22+1917&dq=%22William+Duddell%22+1917&client=firefox-a&pgis=1. 

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • William Duddell — William Du Bois Duddell (* 1. Juli 1872 in London; † 4. November 1917 ebenda) war ein englischer Elektrotechniker. Von 1893 bis 1901 lehrte er am City Guilds College und experimentierte dort eingehend mit elektro physikalischen Apparaturen. Er… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • William Duddell — …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Duddell — ist der Name folgender Personen: William Duddell (1872–1917), englischer Elektrotechniker Joe Duddell (* 1972), britischer Komponist Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklärung zur Unterscheidung mehrerer mit demselben Wort bezei …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Duddell Medal and Prize — The Duddell Medal and Prize was a prize awarded annually by the Institute of Physics in the memory of William du Bois Duddell, the inventor of the electromagnetic oscillograph. The medal was instituted by the Council of The Physical Society in… …   Wikipedia

  • Duddell, William du Bois — SUBJECT AREA: Electricity [br] b. 1872 Kensington, London, England d. 4 November 1917 London, England [br] English engineer, inventor of the first practical oscillograph. [br] After an education at the College of Stanislas, Cannes, Duddell served …   Biographical history of technology

  • Duddell — This very unusual and ancient surname, apparently has its origins in the medieval English period. It would seem to be a patronymic (son of Dodd) or diminutive (Little Dodd) from the popular personal name Dodde or Dudde , derived from the pre 9th… …   Surnames reference

  • Paul, Robert William — SUBJECT AREA: Electricity, Electronics and information technology, Photography, film and optics [br] b. 3 October 1869 Highbury, London, England d. 28 March 1943 London, England [br] English scientific instrument maker, inventor of the Unipivot… …   Biographical history of technology

  • Arco cantante — Este artículo o sección sobre música y tecnología necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 12 de noviembre de 2008.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Royal Institution Christmas Lectures — Michael Faraday delivering a Christmas Lecture in 1856. The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures are a series of lectures on a single topic, which have been held at the Royal Institution in London each year since 1825. The lectures present… …   Wikipedia

  • Liste der Biografien/Du — Biografien: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.