Who invented the telephone?

THE phone is one of the greatest inventions of all time, enabling instant voice communication between people all over the world.

But who had this ingenious invention – and how was the lucrative telephone patent earned?


Alexander Graham Bell received the first patent for the telephone in 1876Credit: Getty – Contributor

Who invented the telephone?

Alexander Graham Bell received the telephone patent on March 7, 1876.

In 1875, Bell and his partner Thomas Watson succeeded in creating the first receiver capable of transforming electricity into sound.

The first words ever spoken over the phone are believed to have been spoken by Bell to Watson, when he said, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.”

Bell had not necessarily set out to create the telephone, but he had become concerned with transmitting the human voice over wires while working on the Harmonic Telegraph in 1871.

1920s candlestick telephone


1920s candlestick telephoneCredit: PA: Press Association

The telegraph was conceived as a machine intended to transmit several messages on a single wire.

Other inventors, including Antonio Meucci and Elisha Gray, made similar devices at the same time, but Bell won the race at the patent office.

Yet the other inventors challenged his patent in a bitter 20-year legal battle of more than 550 court challenges, which the Bell company won in the Supreme Court.

Bell started the Bell Telephone Company, now AT&T, in 1877 and had the exclusive rights to the technology.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847 - 1922) made the first phone call from New York to Chicago in 1892


Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922) made the first telephone call from New York to Chicago in 1892Credit: Stock photos – Getty

Who was Alexander Graham Bell?

Alexander Graham Bell was an inventor, scientist and communicator, who filed over 18 patents in a wide variety of fields during his 75 years.

Much of his work has focused on systems and technology to improve communication for deaf people.

His audiometer, which detected hearing problems, was one of his most effective inventions.

He also invented the metal detector, which was used to locate a bullet inside President Garfield after his assassination.

The telephone has come a long way since the first invention in 1875


The telephone has come a long way since the first invention in 1875Credit: Getty Images – Getty

Bell also made the photophone, which transmitted speech over a beam of light, and the graphophone, which could record and reproduce sound, as well as flying machines and hydrofoils.

Dedicated to scientific discovery, he founded the Volta Laboratories in Washington DC with the money he received from the Volta Prize awarded to him in 1880.

He started Science Magazine and was president of the National Geographic Society.

Bell was born March 3, 1847 in Edinburgh and died in Nova Scotia, Canada, August 2, 1922.

Her father was a speech therapist and her mother a pianist; he was educated at home and attended the University of Edinburgh.

He and Mabel Hubbard were married on July 11, 1877 and had four children, two very young sons and two daughters.

Bell moved with his family to Canada in 1870, then to the United States in 1871.

He taught a set of symbols that represented the sound of speech to deaf people and always invented them, even from an early age.

His wife and mother were deaf – which is oddly next to his support for breeding programs to eliminate disease and disability, and his honorary presidency of the Second International Eugenics Conference in 1921.

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