John Stone Stone
John Stone Stone was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, physicist
A physicist is a scientist who studies or practices physics. Physicists study a wide range of physical phenomena in many branches of physics spanning all length scales: from sub-atomic particles of which all ordinary matter is made to the behavior of the material Universe as a whole...

 and inventor. He labored as an early telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

An engineer is a professional practitioner of engineering, concerned with applying scientific knowledge, mathematics and ingenuity to develop solutions for technical problems. Engineers design materials, structures, machines and systems while considering the limitations imposed by practicality,...

, was influential in developing wireless
Wireless telecommunications is the transfer of information between two or more points that are not physically connected. Distances can be short, such as a few meters for television remote control, or as far as thousands or even millions of kilometers for deep-space radio communications...

Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender's intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast...

 technology, and holds dozens of key patent
A patent is a form of intellectual property. It consists of a set of exclusive rights granted by a sovereign state to an inventor or their assignee for a limited period of time in exchange for the public disclosure of an invention....

s in the field of "space telegraphy".

Early years

Stone was born in Dover, now Manakin
Manakin-Sabot, Virginia
Manakin-Sabot, consisting of the villages of Manakin and Sabot, is an unincorporated community in Goochland County, Virginia, United States. It is located northwest of Richmond and is part of the Greater Richmond region. The area is home to several country clubs. Justin Verlander, pitcher for the...

 village, in Goochland County
Goochland County, Virginia
Goochland County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2010, the population was 21,717. Its county seat is Goochland. It is located in the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area ....

The Commonwealth of Virginia , is a U.S. state on the Atlantic Coast of the Southern United States. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" and sometimes the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there...

. The son of Charles Pomeroy Stone
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Charles Pomeroy Stone was a career United States Army officer, civil engineer, and surveyor. He fought with distinction in the Mexican–American War, earning two brevet promotions for his performance in the conflict. After resigning and surveying for the Mexican Government, he returned to the U.S...

, the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

A general officer is an officer of high military rank, usually in the army, and in some nations, the air force. The term is widely used by many nations of the world, and when a country uses a different term, there is an equivalent title given....

 and engineer, and Annie Jeannie [Stone] Stone. His father fought in the war with Mexico and the civil war, being twice promoted for gallant conduct on the field of battle; was lieutenant-general in the Egyptian army; and hud charge of the department of public works of the kingdom of Egypt, as well as other high positions in that country. His American ancestry dates back to Deacon Gregory Stone and his wife Margaret Garrard, who came from Much Bromley, Essex, England, in 1634, and settled in Cambridge, Mass. Gregory Stone became one of the original proprietors of Watertown, and the line of descent is traced through John, Nathaniel, John, John and Alpheus Stone. John Stone Stone early displayed a fondness for the study of physics and chemistry.

His childhood was passed largely in Egypt and Europe. Raised in Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

, Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 until 1882, Stone was fluent in Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

, French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, and English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

; his father tutored him in mathematics. Stone also learned to ride in Egypt and was an excellent horseman
Equestrianism more often known as riding, horseback riding or horse riding refers to the skill of riding, driving, or vaulting with horses...

. On his family's return to the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 in 1885, Stone attended Columbia Prep
Columbia Grammar & Preparatory School
Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School is the oldest non-sectarian private school in the United States, located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan , in New York City, New York...

, Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, and Johns Hopkins University
Johns Hopkins University
The Johns Hopkins University, commonly referred to as Johns Hopkins, JHU, or simply Hopkins, is a private research university based in Baltimore, Maryland, United States...


Middle years

In the following years, he attended the school of mines of Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University. His studies were mathematics, physics, chemistry and electrical engineering, and his course at Johns Hopkins was practically a post-graduate course, though no actual degree was required for admission. He entered the laboratory of the American Bell Telephone Co.
Bell Telephone Company
The Bell Telephone Company, a common law joint stock company, was organized in Boston, Massachusetts on July 9, 1877 by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who also helped organize a sister company — the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company...

 in Boston, in 1890, as an experimentalist, and afterward was retained as the company's expert. He was a professional consulting electrical engineer on his own account, during 1899-1902, after which he became vice-president and chief engineer of the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Co. and in 1908 became its president.

Telegraphy work

He was also special lecturer on electrical oscillations and their applications at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for a number of years. He has secured over 100 United States patents and a corresponding number in foreign countries, covering various inventions of telegraph and telephone devices and wireless telegraphy. These include an invention for centralizing the energy in telephone systems (1893) which came into very general use in the United States and abroad. In 1897 he received a patent for a method of increasing the efficiency of telephone lines by the increase of the inductance of the line. This method was superseded by one patented by Prof. Pupin.

Wireless work

In 1902-03 he obtained a group of patents covering a system of selective wireless telegraphy free from interference and in 1903 he received a patent covering the first application of the principles of electrical resonance to useful arts. The most important feature of the Stone system of wireless telegraphy is its selectivity and immunity from interference. The one great drawback to wireless telegraphy in the past was its uncertainty due to the interference by atmospheric electricity, as well as by the signals of nearby stations. Like the telephone in its early days, wireless telegraphy was operative only when outside conditions were favorable, and for that reason its use was restricted almost entirely to ships at sea and between ships at sea and the shore. The only efficient means of preventing such interference in the wireless telegraph is Mr. Stone's selective transmitter and receiver, which has been perfected to such a point that interference due to atmospheric electrical disturbances is almost wholly eliminated. With it 1,000 stations may be located within a radius of fifty miles from any city and intercommunicate with one another without mutual interference.

Among the patents issued to Stone, some were of systems of selective wireless telegraph. There is much similarity between the inventions described by Stone and a patent issued to Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla was a Serbian-American inventor, mechanical engineer, and electrical engineer...

, which in both cases have been the subjects of previous patents. In each case the principle consists in transmitting a signal in waves of two or more frequencies, which implies two or more antenna and transmitting circuits controlled simultaneously by the sending key; and the same number of receiving antenna and receptive circuits, each of the latter being tuned to one of the transmitting circuits. A relay connected in common to the two or more receiving circuits can only be actuated when these several circuits respond simultaneously to waves received. As a consequence, no signals will be received unless they are transmitted in multiple waves of the exact frequencies for which the multiple transmitting and receiving circuits are tuned, the result being that the chances of interference are infinitesimal as are also the chances of a message being read at any other wireless station than that for which it is destined. The Tesla patent is the earliest in date of application (July 16, 1900) and relates to means for transmitting simultaneously the waves of different frequencies and the means of completing the conjoint recording circuit of the receiving station. The Stone patents (the applications for which were filed in January and March of 1903) deal with the same subjects, but with much more elaboration with respect to the character of the signals.
After early research at American Telegraph & Telephone
American Telephone & Telegraph
AT&T Corp., originally American Telephone and Telegraph Company, is an American telecommunications company that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications and professional services to businesses, consumers, and government agencies. AT&T is the oldest telecommunications company...

, Stone created his own company to build transmitting stations for the U.S. Navy
United States Navy
The United States Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest in the world; its battle fleet tonnage is greater than that of the next 13 largest navies combined. The U.S...

. In 1907, Stone started in Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

 the Society of Wireless Telegraph Engineers (SWTE). He won the Franklin Institute
Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824. The Institute also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.-History:On February 5, 1824, Samuel Vaughn Merrick and...

 Edward Longstreth Medal in 1913. He invented the Stone common battery system and helped create the carrier current system
Carrier current
Carrier current is a method of low power AM radio transmission that uses the AC electrical system of a building to propagate a medium frequency, AM signal to a relatively small area, such as a building or a group of buildings...

 of transmission
Transmission (telecommunications)
Transmission, in telecommunications, is the process of sending, propagating and receiving an analogue or digital information signal over a physical point-to-point or point-to-multipoint transmission medium, either wired, optical fiber or wireless...

. J. S. Stone's tuned circuit
RLC circuit
An RLC circuit is an electrical circuit consisting of a resistor, an inductor, and a capacitor, connected in series or in parallel. The RLC part of the name is due to those letters being the usual electrical symbols for resistance, inductance and capacitance respectively...

s for radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

In electronics and telecommunications a transmitter or radio transmitter is an electronic device which, with the aid of an antenna, produces radio waves. The transmitter itself generates a radio frequency alternating current, which is applied to the antenna. When excited by this alternating...

s and receivers
Receiver (radio)
A radio receiver converts signals from a radio antenna to a usable form. It uses electronic filters to separate a wanted radio frequency signal from all other signals, the electronic amplifier increases the level suitable for further processing, and finally recovers the desired information through...

 had precedence over Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi
Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

's similar system.

Other important inventions of his in wireless telegraphy are the "direction finder," an apparatus by means of which the wireless telegraph equipment of any vessel may be used to enable the navigator to determine the direction from which wireless telegraph signals are coming, thus locating the bearing or direction from his vessel of any wireless telegraph station on another ship or on shore and enabling him to determine his bearings in the thickest weather at a far greater distance than he could hear a fog signal or even see a light in clear weather,—it will indicate the direction or bearing of a wireless station twenty to seventy-five miles away, to within two-thirds of a point—a system by which the messages are automatically rendered secret or illegible except at the station at which they are intended to be received; and methods and apparatus for simultaneously transmitting and receiving wireless telegraph signals; relaying wireless telegraph messages; directing signals so thajt they shall not go out in all directions as they do at present, and for multiplex wireless telegraphy. These wireless telegraphy inventions were all owned and controlled by the Stone Telegraph and Telephone Co. He is also the inventor of a system of wireless telephony now used by the Radio Telephone Co. Mr. Stone was a member of the International Electrical Congress which met at St. Louis in 1904, at which he read a paper on "The Theory of Wireless Telegraphy."

Later years

Stone spoke on the "Hazards of Wireless Telegraphy Installations" and brought out the fact that the chief hazard in connection with wireless telegraphy was due to the increasing of the potential of adjacent electric wires in the vicinity of the wireless headquarters.

At the annual meeting of the Institute of Radio Engineers
Institute of Radio Engineers
The Institute of Radio Engineers was a professional organization which existed from 1912 until January 1, 1963, when it merged with the American Institute of Electrical Engineers to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers .-Founding:Following several attempts to form a...

, held at Columbia University on January 6th, the election of the following officers for 1915 was announced: president, John Stone Stone. The Institute held its regular meeting at Columbia University, New York, on February 3rd. Stone delivered a presidential address and a paper on "The Effect of the Spark on the Oscillations of an Electrical Circuit". The paper described the theory of oscillating circuits having sources of both linear and logarithmic decrements within themselves. Among those who discussed the paper was Jonathan Zenneck
Jonathan Zenneck
Jonathan Adolf Wilhelm Zenneck was a physicist and electrical engineer. Zenneck was born in Ruppertshofen, Württemberg. Zenneck contributed to researches in radio circuit performance and to the scientific and educational contributions to the literature of the pioneer radio art...

, of Germany. In March 1915, Stone discussed Edwin H. Armstrong's paper on "Recent Developments in the Audion Receiver" and spoke of some early work with amplifiers

Once married and divorced, Stone died in San Diego, California
California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

 on May 20, 1943 and is buried in Mt. Hope cemetery alongside his mother Jeanne Stone and sister Egypta Stone Wilson.

Other activities

Among his political and American activities, he was as a member of the American Defense Society
American Defense Society
The American Defense Society was a nationalist American political group founded in 1915. It advocated American intervention against Germany during World War I and opposition to the Bolsheviks when they came to power in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917.-Formation:Clarence Smedley Thomas,...

's Board of Trustees. He was also a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

, a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Association for the Advancement of Science
The American Association for the Advancement of Science is an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the...

; past president and vice-president of the Society of Wireless Telegraph Engineers; vice-president of the Wireless Telegraph Association of America; member of the American Electrochemical Society; Associate of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers
American Institute of Electrical Engineers
The American Institute of Electrical Engineers was a United States based organization of electrical engineers that existed between 1884 and 1963, when it merged with the Institute of Radio Engineers to form the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers .- History :The 1884 founders of the...

; member of the Society of Arts of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; member of the Mathematical and Physical Club; the Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity
Alpha Delta Phi
Alpha Delta Phi is a Greek-letter social college fraternity and the fourth-oldest continuous Greek-letter fraternity in the United States and Canada. Alpha Delta Phi was founded on October 29, 1832 by Samuel Eells at Hamilton College and includes former U.S. Presidents, Chief Justices of the U.S....

, the Johns Hopkins Alumni Association of New England and of the Aztec Club of 1847; the St. Botolph, Technology and Papyrus clubs of Boston, the National Arts Club
National Arts Club
The National Arts Club is a private club in Gramercy Park, New York City, New York, USA. It was founded in 1898 to "stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts". Since 1906 the organization has occupied the Samuel J...

 of New York, and the Army
An army An army An army (from Latin arma "arms, weapons" via Old French armée, "armed" (feminine), in the broadest sense, is the land-based military of a nation or state. It may also include other branches of the military such as the air force via means of aviation corps...

 and Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

, and Cosmos clubs of Washington, DC.



- Electric cable (1892) - Development and distribution of electricity (1892) - Resonant electric circuit (1897)
  • Stone, M S, Electric Circuit, US patent 0 578 275, filed 10 September 1896, issued 2 March 1897. - Differential electromagnet (1899) - Method of selective electric signaling (1902) - Method of electrical distribution (1902) - Method of relaying space telegraph signals (1902) - Method of relaying space telegraph signals (1902) - Method of tuning vertical wire oscillators (1902) - Tuned electric oscillator (1902) - Method of relaying space telegraph signals (1902) - Apparatus for relaying space telegraph signals (1902) - Method of electrical distribution (1902) - Electrical distribution and selective distribution - Method of electrical distribution and selective distribution - Electrical apparatus and circuit for electrical distribution and selective distribution - Apparatus for simultaneously transmitting and receiving space telegraph signals (1904) - Wireless telegraph receiving device (1904) - Method of receiving space telegraph signals (1904) - Method of increasing the effective radiation of electromagnetic waves (1904) - Apparatus for increasing the effective radiation of electromagnetic waves (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904)

- Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1904) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1905) - Space telegraphy (1908) - Space telegraphy (1908) - Space telegraphy (1908) - Space telegraphy (1908) - Space telegraphy (1908) - Secret communication system (1925) - Signaling system (1926) - Directive antenna array (1928) - Radio receiving system (1931) - Radio receiving system (1934) - Frequency selective communication system (1935) - Composite oscillator for electromagnetic wave (1936)

See also

Main: Invention of radio
Invention Of Radio
Within the history of radio, several people were involved in the invention of radio and there were many key inventions in what became the modern systems of wireless. Radio development began as "wireless telegraphy"...

, electromagnetic waves, mutual inductance, electrical resonance
Electrical resonance
Electrical resonance occurs in an electric circuit at a particular resonance frequency where the imaginary parts of circuit element impedances or admittances cancel each other...

, resonant circuit, high frequency
High frequency
High frequency radio frequencies are between 3 and 30 MHz. Also known as the decameter band or decameter wave as the wavelengths range from one to ten decameters . Frequencies immediately below HF are denoted Medium-frequency , and the next higher frequencies are known as Very high frequency...

, alternating current
Alternating current
In alternating current the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current , the flow of electric charge is only in one direction....

, reactance
Reactance is the opposition of a circuit element to a change of electric current or voltage, due to that element's capacitance or inductance. A built-up electric field resists the change of voltage on the element, while a magnetic field resists the change of current...

General: bolometer
A bolometer is a device for measuring the power of incident electromagnetic radiation via the heating of a material with a temperature-dependent electrical resistance. It was invented in 1878 by the American astronomer Samuel Pierpont Langley...

, Charles Pomeroy Stone
Charles Pomeroy Stone
Charles Pomeroy Stone was a career United States Army officer, civil engineer, and surveyor. He fought with distinction in the Mexican–American War, earning two brevet promotions for his performance in the conflict. After resigning and surveying for the Mexican Government, he returned to the U.S...

, Lloyd Espenschied
Lloyd Espenschied
Lloyd Espenschied was an American electrical engineer who invented the modern coaxial cable with Herman Andrew Affel.-Biography:He was born in St. Louis, Missouri on April 27, 1889....

, Boston Navy Yard
Boston Navy Yard
The Boston Navy Yard, originally called the Charlestown Navy Yard and later Boston Naval Shipyard, was one of the oldest shipbuilding facilities in the United States Navy. Established in 1801, it was officially closed as an active naval installation on July 1, 1974, and the property was...

, U.S. Navy
Radio: spark gap transmitter, break key
Break key
The origins of the break key on a computer keyboard go back to telegraph practices. A standard telegraph key has a built-in knife switch that can be used to short the key's contacts. When the key was not in use, that switch was kept closed, so that a signal was continually sent...

, wireless telegraph, loading coil
Loading coil
In electronics, a loading coil or load coil is a coil that does not provide coupling to any other circuit, but is inserted in a circuit to increase its inductance. The need was discovered by Oliver Heaviside in studying the disappointing slow speed of the Transatlantic telegraph cable...

, antenna
Antenna (radio)
An antenna is an electrical device which converts electric currents into radio waves, and vice versa. It is usually used with a radio transmitter or radio receiver...

 (elevated conductor), resonant receiver
IEEE Medal of Honor:

Further reading

  • "Stone, John Stone". In Homans, J. E., In Linen, H. M., & In Dearborn, L. E. (1918). The cyclopedia of American biography. New York: The press association compilers, inc.
  • J. S. Stone, "Interference Due To Static Charges" Transactions of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, Volumes 18-19 By Canadian Society of Civil Engineers
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