Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pop History Moment: Bell Makes An Important Call


On this day in 1876 Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful telephone call by saying 'Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.'

Bell's innovation - the first successful use of a machine apparently designed by Elisha Gray, who was given no credit in Bell's application for U.S. Patent 174,465 - would later lead to some controversy as to whether Bell 'stole' Gray's patent or not, whether their discoveries had been simultaneous and independent of each other, or indeed which of them got to the patent office first. Surely the fact that Bell later became hugely rich as a result of the telephone company (and ensuing monopoly) he founded only added fuel to the fire, as there's nothing like a spot of greed to make a scandal really hum.

Nevertheless, it was Bell who made the first telephone call, clearing the way for every ninny on the bus to chatter away inanely about the intimate details of their lives as if no one around them can hear; which, indeed, they cannot - provided the volume on their iPod is up high enough.
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