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"On this Day in History"



Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone in 1876.

Comment ... When I was a kid I remember picking up the phone and listening to the female voice say "Number Please". My friends number was 480. I would say 480. She would say thank you and the next I heard was his phone buzzing.. It was ringing at his house.. There were party lines and private lines. We had a private line.. My number was 269. Today I thank God for those treasured memories..

On this day in 1876, 29-year-old Alexander Graham Bell receives a patent for his revolutionary new invention–the telephone. The Scottish-born Bell worked in London with his father, Melville Bell, who developed Visible Speech, a written system used to teach speaking to the deaf. In the 1870s, the Bells moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where the younger Bell found work as a teacher at the Pemberton Avenue School for the Deaf. He later married one of his students, Mabel Hubbard. While in Boston, Bell became very interested in the possibility of transmitting speech over wires. Samuel F.B. Morse’s invention of the telegraph in 1843 had made nearly instantaneous communication possible between two distant points. The drawback of the telegraph, however, was that it still required hand-delivery of messages between telegraph stations and recipients, and only one message could be transmitted at a time. Bell wanted to improve on this by creating a “harmonic telegraph,” a device that combined aspects of the telegraph and record player to allow individuals to speak to each other from a distance. With the help of Thomas A. Watson, a Boston machine shop employee, Bell developed a prototype. In this first telephone, sound waves caused an electric current to vary in intensity and frequency, causing a thin, soft iron plate–called the diaphragm–to vibrate. These vibrations were transferred magnetically to another wire connected to a diaphragm in another, distant instrument. When that diaphragm vibrated, the original sound would be replicated in the ear of the receiving instrument. Three days after filing the patent, the telephone carried its first intelligible message–the famous “Mr. Watson, come here, I need you”–from Bell to his assistant. 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.
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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
spikesgirl58
Mar. 7th, 2017 09:30 pm (UTC)
And my hubbie, an employee of AT&T for 39 years, says, "Thank you Mr. Bell!"
tyler306
Mar. 7th, 2017 09:49 pm (UTC)
Very good.. We are from the old school.. I was with The State and Federal government for over 20 years.. .. We built this country..
kabuldur
Mar. 9th, 2017 11:02 am (UTC)
Our phone, when I was a kid, was a box on the wall. The ear piece rested in its cradle when not in use. It had a microphone on the box that you spoke into. To 'ring out' we had to wind the handle. We would either get next door and they would put us through or we would get straight through to the exchange. There the 'girl' would ask for the number (we only had three numbers then, and our's was 117) or asked to be put through to 'trunks' eg when we rang Nana. I can't believe we had such an old phone! The phone line came down the hill on dedicated posts in a big, black, rubber coated wire.
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