Who Invented the Telephone? You Make the Call…
The names of Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Watson are synonymous with the invention of the telephone. “Mr. Watson, come here — I want to see you” has gone down in history as the first of zillions of phone calls made since that day in 1876.
But like Shakespeare and other notables who may have erroneously received credit, how many shoulders did this most famous Bell stand on to make that first call?
Italian inventor Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci was one of the many reputed to beat Bell to the phone. He created an early electromagnetic telephone to connect his basement laboratory with the second floor of his home to communicate with his sick wife.
The ill-fated story of Meucci continues with a comedy of errors including him not having enough money to finance his invention, an alleged “loss” of his prototype description at the hands of the American District Telegraph Co. of New York, and fuzzy details about whether or not he had the funds to secure the proper patents in 1874.
At the end of the day, his place in the historical account was reportedly overthrown by Bell who apparently had the means to finance years of litigation against Meucci (and supposedly hundreds of others) to ultimately be crowned the inventor.
So did Bell get to claim one of the greatest man-made inventions by winning a patent battle just because he had the bucks and the legal brains behind him? Sounds that way. Nevertheless, whoever genuinely deserves the credit, we of the Steve Jobs Generation thank you!