Controversy Who Really Invented the Telephone Part 1 Introduction

About the controversy over who really invented the telephone, an introduction to the history and background.



After an American named C. G. Page discovered the principle of electronic sound transmission in 1837, dozens of scientists, electricians, and tinkerers became intrigued with its theoretical applications. If sounds could be carried by manipulations of a magnet over a wire, then why not intelligible sounds? Telegraph wires could carry Morse code by 1844; why could they not carry musical notes or a voice? Indeed, why not actual speech? Convinced that success was only a matter of finding the right technology and the most sound-sensitive materials, workers in Europe and America began to devise motley contrivances with one clear end in view--an instrument with the exact function of the modern telephone--a literal means of "calling," powered, not by volume of the human larynx, but by the channeled, amplified dance of lightning. So definite was the goal in mind that the word telephone, signifying a device for conveying sounds, preceded and awaited the actual invention. Thus, with the theory as common scientific property, a 30-year race began for development of a workable gadgetry.

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