Phonozoic Text Archive, Document 113

Charge of Ventriloquism

Nature, Vol XVIII, September 19, 1878, p. 553.

SINCE M. du Moncel presented the Edison phonograph to the Academy of Sciences electrical inventions of every description are sent to him for presentation.  A large number of these deserve notice, and no sitting passes without M. du Moncel speaking on two or three different inventions.  This state of things has created some anxiety amongst members unable to understand electrical matters.  On Monday week one of them proposed to the president that M. du Moncel be obliged to execute all the experiments he was describing before the Academy, in order to prove whether they were sound.  M. du Moncel replied that he was himself verifying them with much care, but that a number could not be executed before the learned assembly, as two different stations, situated at a great distance, were required; and he reminded them that, when he brought the phonograph before the Academy, he had taken the precaution to procure an able operator for the working of it.  The point of the reply is that a certain number of the members said that the phonograph was exhibited by a ventriloquist. M. Fizeau, who was in the chair, called the assembly to a vote, and the discussion ended.  It was not recorded in the Comptes Rendus.