Elizabeth Celedon

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Alexander Graham Bell is most well known for inventing the telephone. He came to the U.S as a teacher of the deaf, and conceived the idea of "electronic speech" while visiting his hearing-impaired mother in Canada. This led him to invent the microphone and later the "electrical speech machine" -- his name for the first telephone.

The Telephone Patent

While trying to perfect a method for carrying multiple messages on a single wire, he heard the sound of a plucked spring along 60 feet of wire in a Boston electrical shop. Thomas A. Watson, one of Bell's assistants, was trying to reactivate a telegraph transmitter. Hearing the sound, Bell believed that he could solve the problem of sending a human voice over a wire. He figured out how to transmit a simple current first, and received a patent for that invention on March 7, 1876. Five days later, he transmitted actual speech. Sitting in one room, he spoke into the phone to his assistant in another room, saying the now famous words: "Mr. Watson, come here. I need you." The telephone patent is one of the most valuable patents ever issued.

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  • Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847.
  • Bell had other inventions as well -- his own home had a precursor to modern day air conditioning, he contributed to aviation technology, and his last patent, at the age of 75, was for the fastest hydrofoil yet invented.
  • Bell died on August 2, 1922. On the day of his burial, all telephone service in the US was stopped for one minute in his honor.
  • Bell’s mother and wife were both deaf, this had a major influence on his work.

  • Bell experimented with sound, working with devices such as a ‘harmonic telegraph’ (used to send multiple messages over a single wire) and a ‘phonautograph’ (used to record sound).

Service Lines and Switchboards

In 1877, construction of the first regular telephone line from Boston to Somerville, Massachusetts was completed. By the end of 1880, there were 47,900 telephones in the United States. The following year telephone service between Boston and Providence had been established. Service between New York and Chicago started in 1892, and between New York and Boston in 1894. Transcontinental service by overhead wire was not inaugurated until 1915. The first switchboard was set up in Boston in 1877. On January 17, 1882, Leroy Firman received the first patent for a telephone switchboard.

Impacting The Economy

The first telephone was created by Alexander Graham Bell. The idea of the telephone was taking from his attempts of the telegraph. The first thing that was said was "Mr. Watson come here! I want to see you!" The economy wealth increased incredibly especially in 1877 with the Bell Telephone Company. The telephone also increased jobs and of course communication to many parts of the world. A major economical impact of the telephone was that it developed a new market for women as telephone operators because before the company president would locate himself near the production line to give instructions! So, the telephone is a spectacular invention by Alexander Graham Bell that now is in many different forms