Where would we be without the telephone? Of course, since the turn of the 20th century, we have been fortunate to have it readily at our disposal. So, the 'without a phone' experience will not be one for most of us, except the times when we leave home without the cell phone. The evolution of the telephone has been a phenomenal advancement in technology. However, it had to start somewhere so let's step back in time to its beginning.
On this day in 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention—the telephone. As with so many accounts within history, there are often cases of dispute and controversy. Such is the case with the first patent for the telephone. It is happenstances such as this that truly makes history debatable and totally fascinating. This controversy brings to mind the earlier patent battle over the telegraph and foreshadows later squabbles over inventions such as the automobile, the airplane, the light bulb, television and even online shopping carts.
Bell's patent filing beat a similar claim by Elisha Gray by only two hours. Not wanting to be shut out of the communications market, Western Union Telegraph Company employed Gray and fellow inventor Thomas A. Edison to develop their own telephone technology. Bell sued, and the case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which upheld Bell's patent rights. In the years to come, the Bell Company withstood repeated legal challenges to emerge as the massive American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) and form the foundation of the modern telecommunications industry.With the patent becoming official, the idea only needed to be refined and tested. This was just the beginning of a form of communication that has developed into a massive force far beyond the expectations of Bell and his colleagues. Eventually a simple conversation from one room to another broadened into a means of connecting people across the globe.
Source: This Day in History
Here are but a few earlier photos:
|Alexander Graham Bell demonstrates |
speaking into the telephone
using a model prototype in 1876.
Early Office Museum
|Bell placing the first New York to |
Chicago telephone call in 1892