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Today in History: Alexander Graham Bell Patents the Telephone (1876)

On this day in history Scottish-born American scientist Alexander Graham Bell, who was 29 years-old at the time, was granted a patent for his revolutionary intention - the telephone! Why not dial a friend and mark this occasion by tying up the phone lines at home or at work... on second thoughts, forget the last one!

Bell’s involvement, early on, with studies in hearing and speech led to his fascination with transmitting speech over wires. Actually, he was surrounded by inspiration as both his mother and wife were deaf, and his father an inventor himself having developed a written system used to teach speaking to the deaf known as “Visible Speech”.

With the telegraph already in existence, having been invented by Samuel F.B. Morse in 1843, Bell sought to improve the device as he saw it had some major drawbacks, namely the fact that only one message could be transmitted at a time. So, while in Boston in the early 1870s Bell sought to create a “harmonic telegraph”.

Postage stamp marking the centennial, 1976. Image via Wikipedia

Here we have a depiction of the prototype that Bell invented with the assistance of a Boston machine shop employee – Mr. Watson. In fact Mr. Watson has gone down in history as being the first person to have had their name uttered over the telephone. “Mr. Watson, come here, I need you” is the phrase Bell spoke 3 days following the filing of the patent (as seen below). It was also the first intelligible message transmitted and received through Bell’s telephone.

Image via Wikipedia

You could say Bell stuck gold by filing the patent when he did as 2 hours following his filing a fellow engineer, Bell’s contemporary Elisha Gray filed for a patent for his “liquid microphone” telephone.

We, and the future of telecommunications, salute you Alexander Graham Bell!

Information for this article was taken from History.com.

written by soundfoodaround

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