While doing research for another book, I ran across this article that some may find intersting. The article was originally published by the Chicago Tribune and republished by The Vernon Pioneer, October 11, 1878. I also found the information contained therein was remarkably similar to the content of “Evolution of the Electric Incandescent Lamp” written by Franklin Leonard Pope; the second edtion of which was published in 1894.

The “Telemachon” mentioned in the article was big news worthy of publication in newspapers around the world. The Colonist, Volume XXII, Issue 2496, 11 January 1879, Supplement . The Colonist is/was a New Zealand newspaper and they received the article from the San Francisco Scientific Press.

Credit: National Library of New Zealand
Recovered from:


The latest development of the uses of electricity is its application to certain methods that will transmit power by wire. Just whether this announcement is a clever invention, we are puzzled to decide in the face of Edison’s achievements. Mr. William Wallace of Ansorio, Connecticut, is credited with such an invention, and the New York “Sun” gives a lively account of Edison’s visit to the inventor and endorsement of his work. Mr. Wallace, calls it a telemachon, and the idea is that the power wasted at Niagara Falls could be carried to new York or anywhere else by conductors, which are copper rods. Hence the account gravely says: “if the whole power of Niagara could be utilized it could be distributed over the United States, so as to give from that waterfall alone a power equal to the present entire mechanical force of the world, estimating that one-half of the coal used is solely for mechanical purposes.” Whew! The lines may be tapped at any point, and thus this powerful current applied to driving machinery wherever demanded. Says the Sun: “These conducting copper rods may be tapped then at any point where the power is needed, and wires carried into factories just as gas is now carried in pipes through the street. In the factory’s telemachon would be placed of a power great to run the shafting. Thus the entire power required by the state of New York might be taken off along the line of the conductors. The amount of electricity taken off at any point would be readily regulated in the same way in which the current taken from a telegraph battery is regulated – that is by introducing suitable resistance in the local line.

Already, we are told, Mr. Wallace, by means of his instrument, is enabled to transmit the power of Naugutuck River a quarter of a mile. The power of this stream is great enough to drive the ponderous machinery in a factory where three hundred men are employed. “A series of experiment with the instrument has shown that in the transmission of this enormous power of electricity only twenty percent is lost.” Edison believes he can assist Mr. Wallace in perfecting his telemachon that the power may be transmitted from one point to another as though it were a telegraphic message.

We omit the long technical description: but are further informed that the electricity from the telemachon may be applied to illumination, and that the factories of Mr. Wallace, the inventor, are now lighted by it, eight electrical lights having the illumination power of 4,000 candles. In addition to driving all the machinery in the Union, the telemachon will illuminate all the cities at cost so trifling as to be laughable. By all odds the telemachon surpasses the useful motor of Mr. Keeley.