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About Me:I'm a graduate student studying International Criminal Law and first started writing for King's News almost 4 years ago! My hobbies include reading, travelling and charity work. I cover many categories but my favourite articles to write are about mysteries of the ancient world, interesting places to visit, the Italian language and animals!
February 14th, 1876. Two confident engineers, Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Grey, race to the U.S Patent Office with their patents (a licence given by the government allowing you to do something or giving you a title) for a transmission device which would allow people to communicate despite being physically distant from one another. Whoever had the patent in their hands would finally be able to make their designs and theories come to life. The patent was awarded to Mr Alexander Graham Bell.
Alexander Graham Bell is best known as the inventor of the first practical telephone, although many attribute the same title to Elisha Grey for his telephone design using a water transmitter. Bell’s mother and wife were deaf which encouraged Bell to take up studies on the human voice and he then became a Professor of Vocal Physiology at Boston University; what he learnt led him to experiment with other inventions such as the Leon Scott phonautograph which allows sounds to be recorded. He also made the harmonic telegraph, following the designs of Grey and others, which was used for sending messages over a wire and in 1875, a year before Grey ever wrote his patent, Bell described how he could create a telephone using a cup of mercury, not water. In 1873 and 1874 Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas Watson began using steel reeds to send an interrupted current to a receiver electro-magnet in the distance that would then cause a tune fork or second steel reed to vibrate.
The trials continued but 1876 proved to be the decisive year for Alexander Graham Bell. Only three days after the patent was issued Bell created a communicational device by using a liquid transmitter, similar to Grey’s. The first words heard via the practical telephone were allegedly Bell saying ‘Mr Thomson, come here please. I want to see you’. The practical telephone was a great success although some question who the true inventor really is. Apparently Mr Grey had accepted that Mr Bell submitted his patent faster than he had which is why he made no major fuss when he wasn’t granted permission to start his invention. Although Grey had plans for the variable resistant phone using water he abandoned his caveat so Bell was the one to put his plans to action first. Zenas Fisk Wilber, the patent examiner, claimed later on that he owed Bell’s lawyer, Marcellus Bailey, a rather large sum of money and had shown him Grey’s caveat. Wilber also admitted that he had then shown the plans to Alexander Bell who paid him $100. Mr Bell however denied ever giving money to Wilber and said they had only spoken about Grey’s plans very generically, he did nonetheless write a letter to Grey to inform him he had learnt some of the more technical details from his caveat.
The telephone was such an epic success that by 1886 over 150000 US citizens owned a telephone and in 1877 the Bell Telephone Company was created! So now you know the ambiguous story behind the telephone and two of the faces that helped invent it but since then the model of this device has evolved drastically to the phones we know today. All of our house phones and even the mobile by your desk couldn't have ever come to exist without these ground-breaking scientists and inventors!
IMAGE 1 (the original practical telephone):
IMAGE 2 (Alexander Graham Bell):