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By: Efraim Harari

Scottish scientist Alexander Graham Bell is famous for inventing the telephone. Born in 1847 to a deaf mother, Bell went on to teach deaf children to speak, while investigating sound and electricity. His knowledge of the nature of sound led him not only to teach the deaf, but also to invent
the telephone.

But he was not the first person to transmit voices along wires. (No one can be sure who that first person was. Some believe it to be a man named Antonio Meucci; others claim
it was other inventors.) Nor was his telephone perfect; other scientists helped improve it.Many inventors also claimed to have invented the telephone before Bell, and some nearly beat him to receiving the recognition for this incredible device.

Evolution of the Telegraph into the Telephone

The telegraph and telephone are both wire-based electrical systems, and Alexander Graham Bell's success with the telephone came as a direct result of his attempts to improve
the telegraph.

When Bell began experimenting with electrical signals, the telegraph had been an established means of communication for some thirty years. Although a highly successful system, the telegraph, with its dot-and-dash Morse code, was basically limited to receiving and sending one message at a time. Bell's extensive knowledge of the nature of sound and his understanding of music enabled him to conjecture the possibility of transmitting multiple messages over the same wire at the same time. Although the idea of a multiple telegraph had been in existence for some time, Bell offered his own musical approach as a possible practical solution. His "harmonic telegraph" was based on the principle that several notes could
be sent simultaneously along the same wire if the
notes or signals differed in pitch.

with Electricity

In 1874, Bell received funding to develop a telegraph that could send many messages down the same wire. But Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson, also experimented with a talking telegraph. By June of 1875, the goal of creating a device that would transmit speech electrically was about to be realized. Bell and Watson had proven that different tones would vary the strength of an electric current in a wire. To achieve success, they therefore needed only to build a working transmitter with a membrane capable of varying electronic currents, and a receiver that would reproduce these variations in audible frequencies.

Bell applied for a U.S. patent for this, and, three days after being given the sole right to make and sell telephones, he finally got the invention to work.

This great success was achieved on March 10, 1876. The day marked not only the birth of the telephone – but the death of the multiple telegraph, as well. The communications potential contained in Bell’s demonstration of being able to “talk with electricity”
far outweighed anything that a
dot-and-dash system, no matter how complex, could offer.

On the day Alexander Graham Bell died – August 2, 1922 – all of the telephones around the world were turned off for a few minutes as a final act of respect for the man who had been credited with inventing the telephone.

First Phone Conversation

Alexander Graham Bell's notebook entry of March 10, 1876 describes his successful experiment with the telephone. Speaking through the instrument to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, in the next room, Bell uttered these famous first words: “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”

MVP(Most Valuable Patent)

Bell fought more than 600 lawsuits to defend his patent – and he won every case!