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History of the Atlantic Cable & Undersea Communications
from the first submarine cable of 1850 to the worldwide fiber optic network

Wildman Whitehouse’s Patents
compiled by Steven Roberts and Allan Green

Introduction: Edward O.W. Whitehouse, “Wildman Whitehouse” as he generally styled himself, was a surgeon by profession and an electrical experimenter by avocation. In 1856 he was appointed Electrician to the Atlantic Telegraph Company and was responsible for the testing of the 1857/58 cables, and for the design and operation of the equipment which would transmit the telegraph signals between Ireland and Newfoundland.

Below are details of all Whitehouse’s patents. A full description and diagrams for the early telegraph patents may be viewed using the patent number links.

--Bill Burns
Year Patent No Date Date sealed Invention In the
name(s) of
Notes EOWW address at the time
1853 2,885 12th Dec 26th May 1854 Improvements in effecting Telegraphic Communications EOWW A chemical telegraph requiring a six wire circuit, with 64 keys, also records the words of a speaker and music. Brighton
1854 1,225 2nd Jun 28th Nov. 1854 Improvements in effecting Telegraphic Communications EOWW Variants on his 2,885/1853 chemical telegraph patent particularly in order to adapt its application to single wire telegraphs. Introduced the Whitehouse Perpetual Maintenance or Laminate Battery. Brighton
1855 2,617 20th Nov 1st April 1856 Improvements in Electro-Telegraphic Apparatus, Parts of which are also applicable to other purposes. EOWW 1] The Whitehouse induction coil, altering the form of windings used in the coils, 2] their use in electro-telegraphic purposes, blasting and ordnance purposes, and his chemical telegraph receiver, 3] improved relays for receiving currents, and 4] a single-needle telegraph receiver Brighton
1855 2,828 14th Dec 18th April 1856 Improvements in Apparatus for Measuring Fluids EOWW Fluid rotational flow meter using magnetic coupling . Would appear to be improvement on a similar item patented by Charles William Siemens of April 1852 to which he refers.
[Note 1].
1856 1,726 21st Jul This patent application was never sealed An improvement in the arrangements for or working of Electric Telegraphs EOWW and Samuel Statham of Islington
[Note 2].
Brief submission referring to the use of an insulated wire return rather than utilising the earth on telegraph circuits Brighton
1856 2,473 21st Oct This invention received Provisional Protection only Improvements in Tools for Soldering Metals EOWW and Joseph Christopher Laws of Brighton The soldering end of the improved tools is heated by a jet of gas brought to the soldering tool by means of a flexible tube. Brighton
1860 1,862 1st Aug This invention received Provisional Protection only Improvements in Testing Insulated Conductors EOWW Testing for eccentricity of conductor within insulated core by imbalance in magnetic fields. Interesting. Brighton
1860 2,027 23rd Aug 22nd Feb 1861 Improvements in Testing Insulated Conductors EOWW Refers to method of local measurement of insulation resistance in long cable during production Brighton
1868 3,224 21st Oct 16th April 1869 A New (or Improved) Mode of Protecting Insulated Telegraph Wires EOWW Proposal to extrude thin layer of xyloidine over GP or rubber insulated conductors to afford additional protection against heat etc Stoke Newington Middlesex
1871 1,998 29th Jul 26th Jan 1872 Improvement in receiving and recording instruments for electric telegraphs, and in the utilisation of Earth Currents at Telegraphic Receiving Stations EOWW ---------- Roslyn Hill House, Hampstead, Middlesex
1872 3,016 12th Oct 21st March 1873 Improvements in recording apparatus specially for the verification of fares in public vehicles EOWW and Samuel Elkens Phillips of Homerton
[Note 3]
Gadget making use of siphon pens to plot on a tape a time marker, speed over each minute, time of arrival and departure, No of passengers on/off and time all linked to charge rates. Roslyn Hill House, Hampstead, Middlesex
1873 4,082 11th Dec 29th May 1874 Improvements in apparatus for recording the number of passengers conveyed on public vehicles and the distance each has travelled. EOWW and Josiah Latimer Clark of 5, Westminster Chambers, Victoria St. City of London. Similar in some respects to 1873/3016
The Wheeler Gift Catalogue lists “5594: Circular relating to an electrical recorder patented by Latimer Clark and Wildman Whitehouse. March 24, 1874”
[Note 4].
12 Thurloe Road, Hampstead Middlesex
1874 1,820 22nd May 6th Nov. 1874 Improvements in Producing Electric Light EOWW No diagrams. Concept of having carbon elements in arc lamp rotate upon a screw thread such as to get even wear and maintain a constant gap.
[Note 5].
12 Thurloe Road, Hampstead Middlesex
1874 1,892 1874 1874 Revolution indicators or recorders EOWW   12 Thurloe Road, Hampstead Middlesex
1876 643 16th Feb 19th April 1876 Improvements in Roller Skates EOWW Proposal to make roller skates take a "curved course" as ice skaters canutilises swivelling pair of rear wheels 12 Thurloe Road, Hampstead Middlesex
1876 2,248 29th May 24th Nov 1876 Improvements in Registering the Number of Passengers Carried in and on Omnibuses and other Public Vehicles EOWW and Edward Hamilton Thomson of 5, Bolton Road, St John's Wood Middlesex Device working on the pressure of passengers on seats! 12 Thurloe Road, Hampstead Middlesex

Note 1. The patentee describes an apparatus in which a paddle-wheel is made to rotate by the action of the fluid to be measured inside an annular chamber of uniform area throughout ; and also an apparatus in which the capacity of the measuring drum or wheel itself constitutes the measuring power of the meter.

Note 2. Samuel Statham was manager of the Gutta Percha Company for many years. Whitehouse married Statham's daughter Hannah in 1864, his second marriage. She died in 1869.

Note 3. Samuel E Phillips had been associated with Whitehouse on the Atlantic cable project [The Electricians’ Directory with Handbook for 1885]. Other than in the patent documents referenced above, his name is always given as Samuel Elkins Phillips. His son, Samuel Edmund Phillips, was a partner in Johnson and Phillips, cable gear suppliers.

Note 4. The Pharmaceutical Journal and Transactions, 8 August 1874, reported on an “Exhibition of Objects of Interest Related to Pharmacy: This Exhibition was held in the rooms of the Society, in Bloomsbury Square...An electrical recorder for registering time, speed, distance run, and number of passengers inside and out, of tram-cars and omnibuses, exhibited by Mr Wildman Whitehouse, forming a very pretty and interesting apparatus.”

Note 5. Clockwork or other mechanism rotates rods or cylinders of carbon at a slow speed, which can be regulated at pleasure, and as they rotate they are moved gradually forward by screws or otherwise. Reverses current occasionally to remove the ridge and groove traced out on the opposite carbons.

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Last revised: 9 April, 2021

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