Guillaume Amontons, French physicist

Guillaume Amontons, French physicist

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Credit: SHEILA TERRY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Guillaume Amontons (1663-1705). Historical artwork of the French physicist and inventor Guillaume Amontons demonstrating his optical telegraphy system to the Dauphin of France. This demonstration is thought to have taken place sometime between 1688 and 1695. The system used a series of signalling stations with a wooden arm that could be moved into different positions to represent letters of the alphabet. The signals would be replicated in successive stations to pass a message by signalmen using telescopes to view the station before them in line. Amontons' system was never put into practice. From La Telegraphie Historique by Alexis Belloc (1888).

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