Who invented the telephone: Did ‘Scotland’ invent the telephone or was it someone else? Debate of historians
Scotland has received a lot of praise for ‘inventing the modern world’, but in the case of the telephone, if a Scotsman tells an Italian or an American that we invented it first, a heated debate can ensue. follow. Crediting inventors can be tricky because often inventions are attributed to the inventor of the most successful iteration of the device rather than the original version, or the person who submits their patent first.
If so, was Alexander Graham Bell really the “father of the telephone” and if not, who invented it first? Here’s what you need to know.
Who invented the telephone?
Scottish-born inventor Alexander Graham Bell is credited with inventing the telephone in 1876. According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, Bell was born in Scotland in 1847 and emigrated to Canada with his family in 1870 before becoming a teacher for people deaf in the United States.
It is said that while visiting his deaf mother in Canada, Bell conceived the idea of ”electronic speech” which would lead to his telephone design being the first ever patented, however, he is not the only inventor to design a “talking telegraph”.
Who else is credited with inventing the telephone?
An Italian immigrant named Antonio Meucci began development of a telephone in 1849. In 1871 he filed an invention advertisement (called a caveat) for his design, but due to difficult circumstances he did not was unable to renew the warning. Until 2002, his invention of the telephone was ignored by the United States House of Representatives, but a resolution now exists to honor his contributions.
Other historians debate that Elisha Gray, an American inventor credited by some as the father of the telephone, lost recognition because he applied for a telephone caveat on the same day Bell applied for his patent, but Gray was represented by his lawyers who performed this task too late.
According to the Library of Congress, on that day, February 14, 1876, Bell was the fifth entry into the patent office while Gray’s caveat was the 39th, leaving Bell to be credited as the inventor.
Was Alexander Graham Bell Scottish?
Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1847. According to History.Com, his Scottish-born father was a professor of elocution at the University of Edinburgh while his English-born mother was a deaf pianist but accomplished.
Debate as to Bell’s nationality stems from the fact that he emigrated to Canada with his family in 1870 but married an American woman who saw him become a naturalized American citizen from 1882. In 2019, a large Debate was sparked over this after former US President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter that Bell was American.
However, given that Bell moved to Canada at the age of 23, that means he was truly born and raised in Scotland and is therefore seen as such by most people here.