Even though the word “microphone” was used for the first time by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1827 it wasn’t actually invented until 1876 by German-born Emile Berliner.
Berliner was fascinated by the recently invented telephone, introduced by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. When he learned that the harder one presses on the key, the more current passed, he was suddenly inspired to find a way in which sound could be recorded and repeated.
Subsequently, Berliner came up with the idea for the gramophone and then later the microphone as a way of transmitting voice.
The following example from Emile Berliner’s biography gives us an idea of his working personality and inventing genius.
“Berliner’s quarters soon came to look and smell like an electrical laboratory. He filled the place with wires, batteries and other paraphernalia. Presently he rigged up a set of “telephones” between his window and the barn. Another set of animated wires led to the living quarters of his landlady and her family, who were duly pressed into Berliner’s experimental service.”
The Bell Telephone Company was extremely impressed with this invention and later purchased Berliner’s microphone for $50,000. This was the beginning of many changes and developments of the microphone.