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Notable Family Members
Notable Phelps Anson Green Phelps, Merchant and philanthropist Austin Phelps, Congregational clergyman, theologian and author Charles Edward Phelps, Congressman, Judge, Author Delos Porter Phelps, Lawyer and U.S. Assistant Treasurer Edward John Phelps, Lawyer, educator Elizabeth Stuart Phelps Ward Dr. Francis Phelps, Representative and Senator George M. Phelps, Master telegraph instrument maker and inventor Dr. Guy Rowland Phelps, Founder, Connecticut Mutual Life Insurance John Phelps, Clerk of the Court at the trial of King Charles I Judge James Phelps, Judge and Congressman Judge John Jay Phelps Judge, merchant, and entrepreneur. Judge John Phelps, Constitutional Convention Signatory from Connecticut John Wolcott Phelps, Brigadier General, United States Volunteers Mary Ann Phelps Rich, Latter-day Saints Pioneer Mary Phelps Jacob, Inventor of the Brassiere Noah Phelps, A Patriot of 1776 and Revolutionary War Spy Oliver Phelps Merchant, Revolutionary War veteran, Representative, Senator land promoter Rev. Philip Phelps First President, Western Theological Seminary Richard Phelps, Bell-founder for Churches Throughout England John Smith Phelps Lawyer, Repesentative, Governor Samuel Shethar Phelps, Jurist, Congressman, and Senator Stephen Sumner Phelps, Illinois Pioneer and Origin of the Hawk Eye State Name Thomas Stowell Phelps, Rear Admiral and Civil War Veteran William Walter Phelps, Congressman, Ambassador, and Judge William Wines Phelps, Judge, Latter-day Saint, Publisher and Writer William Lyon Phelps, American educator, author and critic

Notable Phelps Family Members

George M. Phelps, Master Telegraph Instrument Maker and Inventor

George May Phelps was born on 10 Nov 1820 in Watervliet, New York. He began his adult life working for his uncle Jonas H. Phelps as an apprentice machinist in Troy, New York.

At age 30 in 1850 he set up his first shop on the corner of First and Adams St. in Troy, N. Y., in company with William Gurley, still in operation today as [Opens external site in new window] Gurly Precision Instruments. Among Phelps' first patents were designs for speed governors. During the 1840s, he observed the growth of the telegraph and the inventions of Samuel Morse. There was a shortage of telegraph instruments in that day and considerable competition between conventional Morse technology and newer printing telegraph systems.

George M. Phelps
George M. Phelps, Master Telegraph Instrument Maker and Inventor

The best printing telegraph of that day was built by Royal E. House. It was a complicated instrument and could only be built rather slowly in one factory in New York City. The company learned of George Phelps' mechanical aptitude and asked him to build their instrument for them.

In 1855, a new Hughes instrument was introduced, though it had some drawbacks. A new company was founded—the future AT&T Company —which bought the rights to the Hughes machine. They turned it over to George M. Phelps and asked him to fix some of the problems.

He made two significant improvements: a device that resynced both the transmitting and receiving printer after each character was completed, and he combined both drive mechanisms and shortened the time it took for characters to reach the platen.

For a complete story of George M. Phelps and his accomplishments, see George M. Phelps, Troy's Forgotten Inventor.