The new United States Ambassador to London, Mr. Elliot Richardson, sat in as a copy?
The new United States Ambassador to London, Mr. Elliot Richardson, sat in as a copy reader on Monday (May 12) when a British Member of Parliament and an American Health Official made the first trans - Atlantic telephone call between deaf people.
The Labour M.P., Mr. Jack Ashley, who is a leading campaigner for the deaf in Britain, communicated over a telephone link with Dr. Boyce Williams, the Director of the U.S. Office of Deafness and Communicative Disorders. Both men are deaf.
Mr. Ashley, who was at the United States Trade Centre in West London, used a punch-typing system to communicate with Dr. Williams for about 15 minutes.
The equipment is called a "Phonotype". It is an electronic device invented in the United States about 10 years ago by a deaf physicist, Dr. Robert H. Wei???brecht. It enables two people to teleprint messages to each other over ordinary telephone connections.
The conventional handset telephone is placed on a cradle on top of the "Phonetype" unit, which converts the electrical impulses of the teleprinter into sound impulses. The two communicants then converse by typing their messages back and forth on the teleprinters. By using ordinary telephone lines, the system is considerably cheaper than installing teleprinter machines.
The system is already in limited domestic use in both Britain and the United States, but Mr. Ashley's and Dr. William's link-up was the first between two continents.