Alexander Graham Bell makes 1st telephone call
The 10th of March 1876 AD
They are everywhere. There is no escape. To some, they are the embodiment of the horror of modern living. They’ve been blamed for increasing workers’ stress and have caused umpteen parental disputes with garrulous teenagers who spend hours on them, talking about nothing. Without them, there’d be no call centres – what a nice thought. They are, of course, telephones.
They’ve been about long before BT, Nokia, Orange, etc… so it’s a bit unfair to blame today’s communication companies for the tyrannical reign of the telephone. Alexander Graham Bell ; he’s to blame. Though, there is some controversy as to who deserves the credit for the invention of the telephone. There is no doubt about its impact on history, its transformation of the way that humans can communicate, but there are some who doubt whether Bell deserves to be credited as the first, given the race with Elisha Gray for a patent on this revolutionary invention.
Gray, with some legitimacy, claimed to have been the first, having filed
for a patent on the same day as Bell – 14th February 1876. But unless
his postman was hunched under the weight of Valentine’s cards, Gray’s
day was a nightmare. The US Patent Office, on receipt of both applications, went on to process Bell’s application first, on instructions from Bell’s lawyers. Gray’s grievances would be enhanced on the 10th March 1876. Bell’s first demonstration of the telephone – the world’s first phone call – used a device that was closer to Gray’s design than his own. Nevertheless, the Edinburgh man’s name was on the patent, and it is his name that will be remembered by history.
There are a number of conspiracy theories in the Gray versus Bell debate, and not all concur with the established ‘truth’ that Bell was first. Even Stephen Fry , that Great British Institution and host of BB2’s QI programme, championed Gray as the first. With the ink dry on the patent, Bell moved on, adopting an electromagnetic design for transmitting speech through electrical wires, and forming Bell Telephone Company in 1877
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