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Username: InternetAdvocate
Date/Time: Mon, June 11, 2001 at 11:12 PM GMT
Browser: Microsoft Internet Explorer V5.5 using Windows NT 4.0
Score: 5
Subject: Bell was Scot-born American inventing in America using American resources.


V. The History of the Telephone

The history of the invention of the telephone is a stormy one. A number of inventors believed voice signal might be carried over wires, and all worked toward this end. The first to achieve success was a Scottish-born American inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, a speech teacher in Boston, Massachusetts.

Bell had built an experimental telegraph, which began to function strangely one day because a part had come loose. The accident gave Bell insight into how voices could be reproduced at a distance, and he constructed a transmitter and a receiver, for which he received a patent on March 7, 1876. On March 10, 1876, as he and his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, were preparing to test the mechanism, Bell spilled some acid on himself. In another room, Watson, next to the receiver, heard clearly the first telephone message: “Mr. Watson, come here; I want you.”

A few hours after Bell had patented his invention, another American inventor, Elisha Gray, filed a document called a caveat with the U.S. Patent Office, announcing that he was well on his way to inventing a telephone. Other inventors, such as Amos E. Dolbear, also made claim to having invented the telephone at the same time. Lawsuits were filed by various individuals, and Bell's claim to being the inventor of the first telephone had to be defended in court 600 times before the Supreme Court of the United States decided in his favor.


Link: Telephone article in Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia

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