Can You Hear Me Now? Can You Hear Me Now? 1876


Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone
On March 10, 1876, in Boston, Massachusetts, Alexander Graham Bell made the first telephone call.  Bell’s assistant, Thomas Watson, created the phone from Bell’s design, and it consisted of a wooden stand, funnel, wire and acid. Bell filed the patent application for his device just hours before his competitor, Elisha Gray. Although neither Bell nor Gray had built a working phone at the time of the patents, Bell incorporated some of Gray’s idea into his March 10 telephone. Bell’s first words were “Mr. Watson — come here — I want to see you.”

A handwritten note about the experiment can be seen in the Library of Congress collection. 

Bell’s telephone invention grew out his research in ways to improve the telegraph. Bell hired Thomas Watson, a repair mechanic and model maker, to help him build a device for transmitting sound using electricity. On April 6, 1875, Bell was granted the patent for the multiple telegraph, which sent two signals at the same time. In September of that year, he began writing his plans for the telephone.

On March 7, 1876, the U.S. Patent Office granted him Patent Number 174,465 covering, “the method of, and apparatus for, transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically…by causing electrical undulations, similar in form to the vibrations of the air accompanying the said vocal or other sounds.’”

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