Beautiful certificate from the Rogers Telegraph and Telephone Company
issued in 1884. This historic document has an
ornate border around it with a vignette of three allegorical angelic figures flanked by two telegraph / telephone poles with wires. This item has the signatures of the Company's President, Treasurer and Secretary.
Printed on the face "Licensed by Pan Electric Telephone Co." and "Whose Officers and Directors are " Genl Jos. E. Johnston, Senators Isham G. Harris & A.H. Garland, Gov. John C. Brown, Hon. Casey Young, Hon. J.D.C. Atkins and Prof. J Harris Rogers." the certificate was issued to James Webb Rogers and signed by him on the verso.
James Webb Rogers
ROGERS, James Webb, lawyer, born in Hills-borough, North Carolina, 11 July, 1822. He was graduated at Princeton in 1841, and then studied for the ministry. After taking orders in the Protestant Episcopal church, he became pastor of St. Paul's parish in Franklin, Tennessee, and while in that state was instrumental in building six churches.
He was a partisan of the south at the beginning of the civil war, and served in the Confederate army under General Leonidas Polk. Subsequently he went to England, remaining there for some time, and in 1878 he became a Roman Catholic, but could not be admitted to the priesthood on account of his being married. On his return to the United States he settled at first in New York city, afterward in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he edited "The Central Catholic," and then removed to Washington, where he studied law.
After being admitted to practice, he became associated with his son as attorney in the protection and sale of the latter's inventions. His publications include "Lafitte, or the Greek Slave" (Boston, 1870) ; "Madame Surratt, a Drama in Five Acts" (Washington, 1879); "Arlington, and other Poems" (1883); and "Parthenon" (Baltimore, 1887).
His son, James Harris, electrician, born in Franklin, Tennessee, 13 July, 1850, was educated in this country and abroad. In 1877 he was appointed electrician at the United States capitol in Washington, D. C., and he continued in that office until 1883. He was the inventor of the secret telephone that was sold in New York for $80,000, also of the national improved telephone, and of the pan-electric system, comprising patents on electric motors, lights, telegraphs, telephones and telemorphs, which attracted greater attention from the circumstance that General Joseph E. Johnston, Senator Augustus H. Garland, Senator Isham G. Harris, and other government officials capitalized the inventions at $15,000,000, and secured, it was alleged at the time, the interposition of the government to defend some of the patents. He has lately devised what he calls "visual synchronism."
J. Harris Rogers Correspondence Correspondence to and from James Harris Rogers (1856-1929), famous inventor, son of James Webb Rogers I. The letters deal mainly with Rogers' invention of the underground wireless, a teletype machine, and a telephone, and lawsuits concerning them. During the Pan-Electric Scandal of the 1890s, Rogers was accused of infringing upon Bell's patent on the telephone and his father was accused of attempting to bribe members of Congress and the Justice Department.
Among his correspondents during this period are Joseph E. Johnston, Confederate General and U.S. Congressman, and Gardiner G. Hubbard, Treasurer of Bell Telephone Co. and father-in-law of Alexander Graham Bell.
During World War I, Rogers invented a method of radio communication with submerged submarines and with the Allies overseas. This was a period of widespread experimentation in these fields, and many people were coming to the same discoveries.
In 1919 Rogers won great acclaim for his discoveries and received letters from many notable scientists and politicians, including Nikola Tesla, Gen. John J. Pershing, Emily Berliner, Lee De Forest, Henry De Groot, Hugo Gernsback, and Hiram Percy Maxim. Rogers was even awarded honorary doctorates by Georgetown University and the University of Maryland in 1919, and was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physics that year by the Maryland Academy of Sciences. Soon, however, another scandal befell Rogers when two young scientists employed by the Navy claimed to have invented Rogers' submarine communication system independently and before Rogers. John A. Willoughby and Percical D. Lowell were clearly in the wrong, but because discoveries about radio technology were coming from so many different sources at this time, chronology of ideas and discoveries became condused and proof of their originality became nearly impossible. The U.S. Government found it to be advantageous to support Willoughby and Lowell's claims, as the Government did not want to pay Rogers for his patent rights.
The Department of Justice instigated a case against Rogers, Willoughby, & Lowell v. Rogers in order to have the patent nullified or at least to keep the case pending as long as possible so as to avoid paying Rogers for the invention. Soon the British Government had infringed Rogers' patent, and Rogers ended up with very little financial gain derived directly from the patents. During this period (1920-1925) we see extensive correspondence from those involved in the case: Capt. Quentin C. A. Crauford, British Navy; Commander S.C. Hooper, U.S. Navy; Josephus Daniles and Edwin Denby, Secretaries of the Navy; Captain William Strother Smith, U.S. Navy; as well as Rogers' legal advocates, Clarence J. Owens and Prentiss, Stone, & Boyden. Meanwhile, Rogers continued his experimentation with long distance radio communication with his underground wireless system. Cards and letters from scientisits and radio amateurs all over the U.S. came in response to radio messages and to articles by Rogers in Radio News and Electrical Experimenter. Among these are letters from H. Winfield Secor and from Marcel Sacazes, an amateur radio operator in Toulon, France, who claimed to have received Rogers' signals. Between 1926 and 1929 Rogers was often ill, and his correspondence tapered off dramatically.
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