Conversation tube end piece, circa 1860

Conversation tube end piece, circa 1860

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Close up of the end piece of a conversation tube by F.C. Rein, dating from 1860, England. This was an assisted listening device; the speaker would speak into this funnel-shaped end and the sound would pass along a conducting tube made of a metal spiral covered in cotton. The sound waves would be amplified as they travel along the tube to the earpiece which would be placed into the listener's ear canal. F. C. Rein and Son, founded in London in 1800, were a leading manufacturer of acoustic instruments for hearing up until the early twentieth century. This end piece is silver plated and richly engraved for decoration.

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