First Publication Date: 27th November 2010
The most common devices used for transmitting the voice signal over a greater distance are pipes and other physical mechanical media. All of us as a child must have used this form for communication. Another device used for centuries for voice communication is lover’s phone or tin can telephone. The classic example is the children’s toy made by connecting the bottoms of two paper cups, metal cans, or plastic bottles with string. But the invention which changed the entire scenario of the communication is the telephone. It revolutionized the entire communication system. People could hear the voice of their loved ones staying miles away. Telephone comes from the Greek word tele, meaning from afar, and phone, meaning voice or voiced sound. Generally, a telephone is any device which conveys sound over a distance
During the second half of the 19th century many well-known inventors were trying to develop an acoustic telegraphy for economic telegraph messages which included Charles Bourseul, Thomas Edison, Antonio Meucci, Johann Philipp Reis, Elisha Gray, and Alexander Graham Bell. The ‘speaking telegraph’ or in simple terms ‘telephone’ emerged from the creation and gradual improvement of telegraph.
The invention of telephone has been one of the most disputed facts of all time. Credit for the invention of the electric telephone is never an ending dispute and new controversies over the issue keeps arising from time-to-time. The Elisha Gray and Alexander Bell controversy raises the question of whether Bell and Gray invented the telephone independently and, if that’s not true, then whether Bell stole the invention from Gray. Both men rushed their respective designs to the patent office within hours of each other; Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone first. Later Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell entered into a famous legal battle over the invention of the telephone, which Bell won.
Invention of telephone is such a complex controversy which raises a question of who deserves credit for inventing the telephone, for which there are several claimants. The early history of the telephone became and still remains a confusing morass of claims and counterclaims, which were not clarified by the huge mass of lawsuits to resolve the patent claims of many individuals and commercial competitors. However, the Bell patent emerged victorious and commercially decisive.
According to the famous story, the first fully intelligible telephone call was made on March 6, 1876, when Bell from one room called to his assistant in another room. “Come here, Watson, I want you.”
On a quick search using the key words telephone or (voice communication medium), you will find that so far 292,403 applications have been filed but only 154,131 patents have been granted.
5. Telephone History (Source:www.affordablephones.net)
7. Book on “The History of the Telephone” By Herbert N. Casson