Physics and chemistry were his favourite studies; and his original researches in electro-gilding resulted in a Prussian patent in 1841. The following year he, in conjunction with his brother William, took out
another patent for a differential regulator. In 1844 he was appointed to a post in the artillery workshops in Berlin, where he learned telegraphy, and in 1845 patented a dial and printing telegraph, which is still in use in Germany.
In 1846, he was made a member of a commission organised in Berlin to introduce electric telegraphs in place of the optical ones hitherto employed in Prussia, and he succeeded in getting the commission to adopt underground telegraph lines. For the insulation of the wires he recommended gutta-percha, which was then becoming known as an insulator. In the following year he constructed a machine for covering copper wire with the melted gum by means of pressure; and this machine is substantially the same as that now used for the purpose in cable factories.
In 1848, when the war broke out with Denmark, he was sent to Kiel where, together with his brother-in-law, Professor C. Himly, he laid the first submarine mines, fired by electricity and thus protected the town of Kiel from the advance of the enemies' fleet.
Of late years the German Government has laid a great network of underground lines between the various towns and fortresses of the empire; preferring them to overhead lines as being less liable to interruption from mischief, accident, hostile soldiers, or stress of weather. The first of such lines was, however, laid as long ago as 1848, by Werner Siemens, who, in the autumn of that year, deposited a subterranean cable between Berlin and Frankfort-on-the-Main. Next year a second cable was laid from the Capital to Cologne, Aix-la-Chapelle, and Verviers.
In 1847 the, subject of our memoir had, along with Mr. Halske, founded a telegraph factory, and he now left the army to give himself up to scientific work and the development of his business. This factory prospered well, and is still the chief continental works of the kind. The new departure made by Werner Siemens was fortunate for electrical science; and from then till now a number of remarkable inventions have proceeded from his laboratory.
The following are the more notable advances made:--In October 1845, a machine for the measurement of small intervals of time, and the speed of electricity by means of electric sparks, and its application in 1875 for measuring the speed of the electric current in overland lines.
In January 1850, a paper on telegraph lines and apparatus, in which the theory of the electro-static charge in insulated wires, as well as methods and formula: for the localising of faults in underground wires were first established. In 1851, the firm erected the first automatic fire telegraphs in Berlin, and in the same year, Werner Siemens wrote a treatise on the experience gained with the underground lines of the Prussian telegraph system. The difficulty of communicating through long underground lines led him to the invention of automatic translation, which was afterwards improved upon by Steinheil, and, in 1852, he furnished the Warsaw-Petersburg line with automatic fast-speed writers. The messages were punched in a paper band by means of the well-known Siemens' lever punching apparatus, and then automatically transmitted in a clockwork instrument.