JF Ptak Science Books Post 2331
Fleeming Jenkin was a very considerable man with a huge range of interests and talents, along the lines of a William Thomson/Stanley Jevons. His main deal though and the place where he earned his keep was in engineering, and here he was virtuosic. I call him up now because of an article that appeared in the 1878 issue of Nature magazine, entitled "The Phonograph". The instrument was invented by Edison in 1877 (and patented in February 1878)--it was an extraordinary thing with great promise, though not so much in the ways we think of today. In any event, Jenkin was able to produce one for himself--to reverse engineer it--from descriptions he read of the machine in the newspapers, which is a big accomplishment.
What he set to do with it was impressive--he began to study the components of speech. And not just by audio comparison--he devised a method to make transverse sections of the recording wax so that they could be magnified and allow him to study the visual differentiations made by speech in the medium. Now that is very good--making the phonograph into a phonic graphing machine.
Here's the article, written by Alexander J. Ellis, as it appeared in the May 9, 1878 issue of Nature: