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The telephone is a telecommunications device that allows two people who are geographically separated to talk to each other. Today, telephones are a common part of everyday life, especially for those who travel a lot. They allow two people who are miles apart to hear each other's voices. It was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.
Alexander Graham Bell
The telephone was first invented by Alexander Graham Bell, who came to the United States as a teacher for the deaf. Bell had been interested in sound science since he was a child, and his research inspired him to come up with a way to send sound signals through telegraph wires. His idea eventually led him to create an electrical speech machine and microphone, which he named the telephone. Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 3, 1847. His father, Alexander Melville Bell, was a professor of speech elocution at the University of Edinburgh. He moved to Boston in 1870 and taught at the Pemberton Avenue School for the Deaf. During this time, he married one of his students, who was deaf.
In 1876, Bell filed for a patent on the telephone, and he was not the only person who worked on the invention. His co-worker, Elisha Gray, also worked on telephony. In March 1876, Bell and Gray submitted their documents to the Patent Office in Washington DC. In 1912, the Franklin Institute formally recognized Bell's work in electrically transmitting articulate speech.
Johann Philipp Reis
In 1850, Johann Philipp Reis began working on a project that would eventually result in the telephone. He lived in Friedrichsdorf, Germany, which was close to Frankfurt. Reis's initial ideas were influenced by a paper published in 1854 by Frenchman Joseph Bourseul. In that paper, Bourseul explained how to transmit speech electrically. He proposed that a speaker would speak against a single diaphragm, allowing each vibration to make or break an electrical contact.
The telephone's development started about 15 years before Alexander Graham Bell's, but Philip Reis' invention is still widely considered the first modern telephone. In fact, a New York Times editorial credited Reis as the inventor of the phone 15 years before Bell. While Reis was not the first person to invent the telephone, he was the first person to demonstrate the device to other people.
Reis, a professor at the University of Frankfurt, publicly demonstrated his telephone in 1861. He tried to mimic the human ear by using various German national stereotypes to make his device as effective as possible. Reis' device had a sausage skin mouthpiece and sausage skin diaphragm, while a violin case served as a resonator. In addition to a wired knitting needle to provide the electrical current, his telephone was able to receive and transmit sounds at the violin end.
Alexander Watson was the third son of Alexander Watson, who had an entrepreneurial streak and was fascinated by speech transmission. As a young boy, he and his brothers constructed a working model of the human throat, mouth, and tongue. They attached a set of bellows to the device to simulate the sound of speech. When the model began to wail, a neighbor would rush over to investigate.
Watson left Bell's employ in 1881 and used his patent royalties to establish the Fore River Ship and Engine Building Company. The company was very successful and would go on to build naval vessels. The company's payroll would grow to four thousand people before the end of World War I. As Watson grew richer, he continued to innovate.
After Watson's initial demonstration of the telephone, Bell tapped Watson for help with electrical transmission experiments. Watson's hands-on skills helped him develop several improvements for the telephone, including a ringer to indicate a pending call, a switch to shut off the telephone when the receiver hung up, and early switchboard devices. These innovations helped expand the Bell Telephone Company and its technology.
Alexander Graham Bell's patent device
Alexander Graham Bell was an inventor and scientist who was one of the first people to invent a phone. His invention was based on the principles of sound frequencies. These frequencies enabled people to talk and hear each other. He later patented his device and sold it to Western Union for $100,000. Today, phones are still used around the world.
In 1876, Bell and his colleague Elisha Gray developed a device for transmitting sound along electrical lines. The two men submitted patent applications for their devices separately, but within a few hours, Bell won the patent. While the telephone and telegraph were similar in concept, Bell's device was a huge step forward.
Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1847. His father was committed to helping the deaf learn to speak. His father, Melville Bell, had developed a system for notating the sounds of speech. He traveled the world demonstrating the system to deaf people.
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