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Patent for the Telephone
By Alexander Graham Bell
Mar 17, 2006, 1:15pm

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) was born in Scotland and moved to Boston in 1872 to open a school for teachers of the deaf. He became a U.S. citizen in 1882. His early experiments included ways to improve and use telegraphy. The telegraph conveyed messages through a system of electrical sounds that, when decoded, could be translated into words. It was dependent on skilled technicians and never became a home appliance. Rather, it required you to go to a telegraph office to send or receive a message, or perhaps a messenger did this for you. Bell sought something revolutionary: to transmit not only the sound of the human voice, but audible words. With the telephone, Bell wrote in 1878, "It is possible to connect every man's house, office or factory with a central station, so as to give him direct communication with his neighbors."

Source: NARA - The Digital Classroom

Learning Links

Source Documents
View the original patent for the telephone
Source: US Patent and Trademark Office

Lesson Plan
Teaching With Documents Lesson Plan: Alexander Graham Bell's Patent for the Telephone and Thomas Edison's Patent for the Electric Lamp
Source: NARA - The Digital Classroom

Bell's Telephone
Bell's creation of the telephone was actually prompted by his interest in communication devices for the deaf. His genius even overflowed into today's Internet use.
Source: The Franklin Institute Online

Tom Farley's Telephone History Series
"On March 10, 1876, in Boston, Massachusetts, Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. Thomas Watson fashioned the device itself; a crude thing made of a wooden stand, a funnel, a cup of acid, and some copper wire. But these simple parts and the equally simple first telephone call -- "Mr. Watson, come here, I want you!" -- belie a complicated past. Bell filed his application just hours before his competitor, Elisha Gray, filed notice to soon patent a telephone himself. What's more, though neither man had actually built a working telephone, Bell made his telephone operate three weeks later using ideas outlined in Gray's Notice of Invention, methods Bell did not propose in his own patent."
Source: Tom Farley

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