Printer Friendly


For seventeen months no one disputed Bell's claim to be the original inventor of the telephone. All the honor, such as it was, had been given to him freely, and no one came forward to say that it was not rightfully his. No one, so far as we know, had any strong desire to do so. No one conceived that the telephone would ever be any more than a whimsical oddity of science. It was so new, so unexpected, that from Lord Kelvin down to the messenger boys in the telegraph offices, it was an incomprehensible surprise. But after Bell had explained his invention in public lectures before more than twenty thousand people, after it had been on exhibition for months at the Philadelphia Centennial, after several hundred articles on it had appeared in newspapers and scientific magazines, and after actual sales of telephones had been made in various parts of the country, there began to appear such a succession of claimants and infringers that the forgetful public came to believe that the telephone, like most inventions, was the product of many minds.

Just as Morse, who was the sole inventor of the American telegraph in 1837, was confronted by sixty-two rivals in 1838, so Bell, who was the sole inventor in 1876, found himself two years later almost mobbed by the "Tichborne claimants" of the telephone. The inventors who had been his competitors in the attempt to produce a musical telegraph, persuaded themselves that they had unconsciously done as much as he. Any possessor of a telegraphic patent, who had used the common phrase "talking wire," had a chance to build up a plausible story of prior invention. And others came forward with claims so vague and elusive that Bell would scarcely have been more surprised if the heirs of Goethe had demanded a share of the telephone royalties on the ground that Faust had spoken of "making a bridge through the moving air."

This babel of inventors and pretenders amazed Bell and disconcerted his backers. But it was no more than might have been expected. Here was a patent--"the most valuable single patent ever issued"--and yet the invention itself was so simple that it could be duplicated easily by any smart boy or any ordinary mechanic. The making of a telephone was like the trick of Columbus standing an egg on end. Nothing was easier to those who knew how. And so it happened that, as the crude little model of Bell's original telephone lay in the Patent Office open and unprotected except by a few phrases that clever lawyers might evade, there sprang up inevitably around it the most costly and persistent Patent War that any country has ever known, continuing for eleven years and comprising SIX HUNDRED LAWSUITS.

The first attack upon the young telephone business was made by the Western Union Telegraph Company. It came charging full tilt upon Bell, driving three inventors abreast--Edison, Gray, and Dolbear. It expected an easy victory; in fact, the disparity between the two opponents was so evident, that there seemed little chance of a contest of any kind. "The Western Union will swallow up the telephone people," said public opinion, "just as it has already swallowed up all improvements in telegraphy."

At that time, it should be remembered, the Western Union was the only corporation that was national in its extent. It was the most powerful electrical company in the world, and, as Bell wrote to his parents, "probably the largest corporation that ever existed." It had behind it not only forty millions of capital, but the prestige of the Vanderbilts, and the favor of financiers everywhere. Also, it met the telephone pioneers at every point because it, too, was a WIRE company. It owned rights-of-way along roads and on house-tops. It had a monopoly of hotels and railroad offices. No matter in what direction the Bell Company turned, the live wire of the Western Union lay across its path.

From the first, the Western Union relied more upon its strength than upon the merits of its case. Its chief electrical expert, Frank L. Pope, had made a six months' examination of the Bell patents. He had bought every book in the United States and Europe that was likely to have any reference to the transmission of speech, and employed a professor who knew eight languages to translate them. He and his men ransacked libraries and patent offices; they rummaged and sleuthed and interviewed; and found nothing of any value. In his final report to the Western Union, Mr. Pope announced that there was no way to make a telephone except Bell's way, and advised the purchase of the Bell patents. "I am entirely unable to discover any apparatus or method anticipating the invention of Bell as a whole," he said; "and I conclude that his patent is valid." But the officials of the great corporation refused to take this report seriously. They threw it aside and employed Edison, Gray, and Dolbear to devise a telephone that could be put into competition with Bell's.

As we have seen in the previous chapter, there now came a period of violent competition which is remembered as the Dark Ages of the telephone business. The Western Union bought out several of the Bell exchanges and opened up a lively war on the others. As befitting its size, it claimed everything. It introduced Gray as the original inventor of the telephone, and ordered its lawyers to take action at once against the Bell Company for infringement of the Gray patent. This high-handed action, it hoped, would most quickly bring the little Bell group into a humble and submissive frame of mind. Every morning the Western Union looked to see the white flag flying over the Bell headquarters. But no white flag appeared. On the contrary, the news came that the Bell Company had secured two eminent lawyers and were ready to give battle.

The case began in the Autumn of 1878 and lasted for a year. Then it came to a sudden and most unexpected ending. The lawyer-in-chief of the Western Union was George Gifford, who was perhaps the ablest patent attorney of his day. He was versed in patent lore from Alpha to Omega; and as the trial proceeded, he became convinced that the Bell patent was valid. He notified the Western Union confidentially, of course, that its case could not be proven, and that "Bell was the original inventor of the telephone." The best policy, he suggested, was to withdraw their claims and make a settlement. This wise advice was accepted, and the next day the white flag was hauled up, not by the little group of Bell fighters, who were huddled together in a tiny, two-room office, but by the mighty Western Union itself, which had been so arrogant when the encounter began.

A committee of three from each side was appointed, and after months of disputation, a treaty of peace was drawn up and signed. By the terms of this treaty the Western Union agreed--

(1) To admit that Bell was the original inventor.

(2) To admit that his patents were valid.

(3) To retire from the telephone business.

The Bell Company, in return for this surrender, agreed--

(1) To buy the Western Union telephone system.

(2) To pay the Western Union a royalty of twenty per cent on all telephone rentals.

(3) To keep out of the telegraph business.

This agreement, which was to remain in force for seventeen years, was a master-stroke of diplomacy on the part of the Bell Company. It was the Magna Charta of the telephone. It transformed a giant competitor into a friend. It added to the Bell System fifty-six thousand telephones in fifty-five cities. And it swung the valiant little company up to such a pinnacle of prosperity that its stock went skyrocketing until it touched one thousand dollars a share.

The Western Union had lost its case, for several very simple reasons: It had tried to operate a telephone system on telegraphic lines, a plan that has invariably been unsuccessful, it had a low idea of the possibilities of the telephone business; and its already busy agents had little time or knowledge or enthusiasm to give to the new enterprise. With all its power, it found itself outfought by this compact body of picked men, who were young, zealous, well-handled, and protected by a most invulnerable patent.

The Bell Telephone now took its place with the Telegraph, the Railroad, the Steamboat, the Harvester, and the other necessities of a civilized country. Its pioneer days were over. There was no more ridicule and incredulity. Every one knew that the Bell people had whipped the West- ern Union, and hastened to join in the grand Te Deum of applause. Within five months from the signing of the agreement, there had to be a reorganization; and the American Bell Telephone Company was created, with six million dollars capital. In the following year, 1881, twelve hundred new towns and cities were marked on the telephone map, and the first dividends were paid --$178,500. And in 1882 there came such a telephone boom that the Bell System was multiplied by two, with more than a million dollars of gross earnings.

At this point all the earliest pioneers of the telephone, except Vail, pass out of its history. Thomas Sanders sold his stock for somewhat less than a million dollars, and presently lost most of it in a Colorado gold mine. His mother, who had been so good a friend to Bell, had her fortune doubled. Gardiner G. Hubbard withdrew from business life, and as it was impossible for a man of his ardent temperament to be idle, he plunged into the National Geographical Society. He was a Colonel Sellers whose dream of millions (for the telephone) had come true; and when he died, in 1897, he was rich both in money and in the affection of his friends. Charles Williams, in whose workshop the first telephones were made, sold his factory to the Bell Company in 1881 for more money than he had ever expected to possess. Thomas A. Watson resigned at the same time, finding himself no longer a wage-worker but a millionaire. Several years later he established a shipbuilding plant near Boston, which grew until it employed four thousand workmen and had built half a dozen warships for the United States Navy.

As for Bell, the first cause of the telephone business, he did what a true scientific Bohemian might have been expected to do; he gave all his stock to his bride on their marriage-day and resumed his work as an instructor of deaf-mutes. Few kings, if any, had ever given so rich a wedding present; and certainly no one in any country ever obtained and tossed aside an immense fortune as incidentally as did Bell. When the Bell Company offered him a salary of ten thousand dollars a year to remain its chief inventor, he refused the offer cheerfully on the ground that he could not "invent to order." In 1880, the French Government gave him the Volta Prize of fifty thousand francs and the Cross of the Legion of Honor. He has had many honors since then, and many interests. He has been for thirty years one of the most brilliant and picturesque personalities in American public life. But none of his later achievements can in any degree compare with what he did in a cellar in Salem, at twenty-eight years of age.

They had all become rich, these first friends of the telephone, but not fabulously so. There was not at that time, nor has there been since, any one who became a multimillionaire by the sale of telephone service. If the Bell Company had sold its stock at the highest price reached, in 1880, it would have received less than nine million dollars--a huge sum, but not too much to pay for the invention of the telephone and the building up of a new art and a new industry. It was not as much as the value of the eggs laid during the last twelve months by the hens of Iowa.

But, as may be imagined, when the news of the Western Union agreement became known, the story of the telephone became a fairy tale of success. Theodore Vail was given a banquet by his old-time friends in the Washington postal service, and toasted as "the Monte Cristo of the Telephone." It was said that the actual cost of the Bell plant was only one-twenty-fifth of its capital, and that every four cents of investment had thus become a dollar. Even Jay Gould, carried beyond his usual caution by these stories, ran up to New Haven and bought its telephone company, only to find out later that its earnings were less than its expenses.

Much to the bewilderment of the Bell Company, it soon learned that the troubles of wealth are as numerous as those of poverty. It was beset by a throng of promoters and stock-jobbers, who fell upon it and upon the public like a swarm of seventeen-year locusts. In three years, one hundred and twenty-five competing companies were started, in open defiance of the Bell patents. The main object of these companies was not, like that of the Western Union, to do a legitimate telephone business, but to sell stock to the public. The face value of their stock was $225,000,000, although few of them ever sent a message. One company of unusual impertinence, without money or patents, had capitalized its audacity at $15,000,000.

How to HOLD the business that had been established --that was now the problem. None of the Bell partners had been mere stock-jobbers. At one time they had even taken a pledge not to sell any of their stock to outsiders. They had financed their company in a most honest and simple way; and they were desperately opposed to the financial banditti whose purpose was to transform the telephone business into a cheat and a gamble. At first, having held their own against the Western Union, they expected to make short work of the stock-jobbers. But it was a vain hope. These bogus companies, they found, did not fight in the open, as the Western Union had done.

All manner of injurious rumors were presently set afloat concerning the Bell patent. Other inventors--some of them honest men, and some shameless pretenders--were brought forward with strangely concocted tales of prior invention. The Granger movement was at that time a strong political factor in the Middle West, and its blind fear of patents and "monopolies" was turned aggressively against the Bell Company. A few Senators and legitimate capitalists were lifted up as the figureheads of the crusade. And a loud hue-and-cry was raised in the newspapers against "high rates and monopoly" to distract the minds of the people from the real issue of legitimate business versus stock-company bubbles.

The most plausible and persistent of all the various inventors who snatched at Bell's laurels, was Elisha Gray. He refused to abide by the adverse decision of the court. Several years after his defeat, he came forward with new weapons and new methods of attack. He became more hostile and irreconcilable; and until his death, in 1901, never renounced his claim to be the original inventor of the telephone.

The reason for this persistence is very evident. Gray was a professional inventor, a highly competent man who had begun his career as a blacksmith's apprentice, and risen to be a professor of Oberlin. He made, during his lifetime, over five million dollars by his patents. In 1874, he and Bell were running a neck-and-neck race to see who could first invent a musical telegraph-- when, presto! Bell suddenly turned aside, because of his acoustical knowledge, and invented the telephone, while Gray kept straight ahead. Like all others who were in quest of a better telegraph instrument, Gray had glimmerings of the possibility of sending speech by wire, and by one of the strangest of coincidences he filed a caveat on the subject on the SAME DAY that Bell filed the application for a patent. Bell had arrived first. As the record book shows, the fifth entry on that day was: "A. G. Bell, $15"; and the thirty-ninth entry was "E. Gray, $10."

There was a vast difference between Gray's caveat and Bell's application. A caveat is a declaration that the writer has NOT invented a thing, but believes that he is about to do so; while an APPLICATION is a declaration that the writer has already perfected the invention. But Gray could never forget that he had seemed to be, for a time, so close to the golden prize; and seven years after he had been set aside by the Western Union agreement, he reappeared with claims that had grown larger and more definite.

When all the evidence in the various Gray lawsuits is sifted out, there appear to have been three distinctly different Grays: first, Gray the SCOFFER, who examined Bell's telephone at the Centennial and said it was "nothing but the old lover's telegraph. It is impossible to make a practical speaking telephone on the principle shown by Professor Bell. . . . The currents are too feeble"; second, Gray the CONVERT, who wrote frankly to Bell in 1877, "I do not claim the credit of inventing it"; and third, Gray the CLAIMANT, who endeavored to prove in 1886 that he was the original inventor. His real position in the matter was once well and wittily described by his partner, Enos M. Barton, who said: "Of all the men who DIDN'T invent the telephone, Gray was the nearest."

It is now clearly seen that the telephone owes nothing to Gray. There are no Gray telephones in use in any country. Even Gray himself, as he admitted in court, failed when he tried to make a telephone on the lines laid down in his caveat. The final word on the whole matter was recently spoken by George C. Maynard, who established the telephone business in the city of Washington. Said Mr. Maynard:

"Mr. Gray was an intimate and valued friend of mine, but it is no disrespect to his memory to say that on some points involved in the telephone matter, he was mistaken. No subject was ever so thoroughly investigated as the invention of the speaking telephone. No patent has ever been submitted to such determined assault from every direction as Bell's; and no inventor has ever been more completely vindicated. Bell was the first inventor, and Gray was not."

After Gray, the weightiest challenger who came against Bell was Professor Amos E. Dolbear, of Tufts College. He, like Gray, had written a letter of applause to Bell in 1877. "I congratulate you, sir," he said, "upon your very great invention, and I hope to see it supplant all forms of existing telegraphs, and that you will be successful in obtaining the wealth and honor which is your due." But one year later, Dolbear came to view with an opposition telephone. It was not an imitation of Bell's, he insisted, but an improvement upon an electrical device made by a German named Philip Reis, in 1861.

Thus there appeared upon the scene the so- called "Reis telephone," which was not a telephone at all, in any practical sense, but which served well enough for nine years or more as a weapon to use against the Bell patents. Poor Philip Reis himself, the son of a baker in Frankfort, Germany, had hoped to make a telephone, but he had failed. His machine was operated by a "make-and-break" current, and so could not carry the infinitely delicate vibrations made by the human voice. It could transmit the pitch of a sound, but not the QUALITY. At its best, it could carry a tune, but never at any time a spoken sentence. Reis, in his later years, realized that his machine could never be used for the transmission of conversation; and in a letter to a friend he tells of a code of signals that he has invented.

Bell had once, during his three years of experimenting, made a Reis machine, although at that time he had not seen one. But he soon threw it aside, as of no practical value. As a teacher of acoustics, Bell knew that the one indispensable requirement of a telephone is that it shall transmit the WHOLE of a sound, and not merely the pitch of it. Such scientists as Lord Kelvin, Joseph Henry, and Edison had seen the little Reis instrument years before Bell invented the telephone; but they regarded it as a mere musical toy. It was "not in any sense a speaking telephone," said Lord Kelvin. And Edison, when trying to put the Reis machine in the most favorable light, admitted humorously that when he used a Reis transmitter he generally "knew what was coming; and knowing what was coming, even a Reis transmitter, pure and simple, reproduces sounds which seem almost like that which was being transmitted; but when the man at the other end did not know what was coming, it was very seldom that any word was recognized."

In the course of the Dolbear lawsuit, a Reis machine was brought into court, and created much amusement. It was able to squeak, but not to speak. Experts and professors wrestled with it in vain. It refused to transmit one intel- ligible sentence. "It CAN speak, but it WON'T," explained one of Dolbear's lawyers. It is now generally known that while a Reis machine, when clogged and out of order, would transmit a word or two in an imperfect way, it was built on wrong lines. It was no more a telephone than a wagon is a sleigh, even though it is possible to chain the wheels and make them slide for a foot or two. Said Judge Lowell, in rendering his famous decision:

"A century of Reis would never have produced a speaking telephone by mere improvement of construction. It was left for Bell to discover that the failure was due not to workmanship but to the principle which was adopted as the basis of what had to be done.

. . . Bell discovered a new art--that of transmitting speech by electricity, and his claim is not as broad as his invention. . . . To follow Reis is to fail; but to follow Bell is to succeed."

After the victory over Dolbear, the Bell stock went soaring skywards; and the higher it went, the greater were the number of infringers and blowers of stock bubbles. To bait the Bell Company became almost a national sport. Any sort of claimant, with any sort of wild tale of prior invention, could find a speculator to support him. On they came, a motley array, "some in rags, some on nags, and some in velvet gowns." One of them claimed to have done wonders with an iron hoop and a file in 1867; a second had a marvellous table with glass legs; a third swore that he had made a telephone in 1860, but did not know what it was until he saw Bell's patent; and a fourth told a vivid story of having heard a bullfrog croak via a telegraph wire which was strung into a certain cellar in Racine, in 1851.

This comic opera phase came to a head in the famous Drawbaugh case, which lasted for nearly four years, and filled ten thousand pages with its evidence. Having failed on Reis, the German, the opponents of Bell now brought forward an American inventor named Daniel Drawbaugh, and opened up a noisy newspaper campaign. To secure public sympathy for Drawbaugh, it was said that he had invented a complete telephone and switchboard before 1876, but was in such "utter and abject poverty" that he could not get himself a patent. Five hundred witnesses were examined; and such a general turmoil was aroused that the Bell lawyers were compelled to take the attack seriously, and to fight back with every pound of ammunition they possessed.

The fact about Drawbaugh is that he was a mechanic in a country village near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was ingenious but not inventive; and loved to display his mechanical skill before the farmers and villagers. He was a subscriber to The Scientific American; and it had become the fixed habit of his life to copy other people's inventions and exhibit them as his own. He was a trailer of inventors. More than forty instances of this imitative habit were shown at the trial, and he was severely scored by the judge, who accused him of "deliberately falsifying the facts." His ruling passion of imitation, apparently, was not diminished by the loss of his telephone claims, as he came to public view again in 1903 as a trailer of Marconi.

Drawbaugh's defeat sent the Bell stock up once more, and brought on a Xerxes' army of opposition which called itself the "Overland Company." Having learned that no one claim- ant could beat Bell in the courts, this company massed the losers together and came forward with a scrap-basket full of patents. Several powerful capitalists undertook to pay the expenses of this adventure. Wires were strung; stock was sold; and the enterprise looked for a time so genuine that when the Bell lawyers asked for an injunction against it, they were refused. This was as hard a blow as the Bell people received in their eleven years of litigation; and the Bell stock tumbled thirty-five points in a few days. Infringing companies sprang up like gourds in the night. And all went merrily with the promoters until the Overland Company was thrown out of court, as having no evidence, except "the refuse and dregs of former cases-- the heel-taps found in the glasses at the end of the frolic."

But even after this defeat for the claimants, the frolic was not wholly ended. They next planned to get through politics what they could not get through law; they induced the Government to bring suit for the annulment of the Bell patents. It was a bold and desperate move, and enabled the promoters of paper companies to sell stock for several years longer. The whole dispute was re-opened, from Gray to Drawbaugh. Every battle was re-fought; and in the end, of course, the Government officials learned that they were being used to pull telephone chestnuts out of the fire. The case was allowed to die a natural death, and was informally dropped in 1896.

In all, the Bell Company fought out thirteen lawsuits that were of national interest, and five that were carried to the Supreme Court in Washington. It fought out five hundred and eighty- seven other lawsuits of various natures; and with the exception of two trivial contract suits, IT NEVER LOST A CASE.

Its experience is an unanswerable indictment of our system of protecting inventors. No inventor had ever a clearer title than Bell. The Patent Office itself, in 1884, made an eighteen- months' investigation of all telephone patents, and reported: "It is to Bell that the world owes the possession of the speaking telephone." Yet his patent was continuously under fire, and never at any time secure. Stock companies whose paper capital totalled more than $500,000,000 were organized to break it down; and from first to last the success of the telephone was based much less upon the monopoly of patents than upon the building up of a well organized business.

Fortunately for Bell and the men who upheld him, they were defended by two master-lawyers who have seldom, if ever, had an equal for team work and efficiency--Chauncy Smith and James J. Storrow. These two men were marvellously well mated. Smith was an old-fashioned attorney of the Websterian sort, dignified, ponderous, and impressive. By 1878, when he came in to defend the little Bell Company against the towering Western Union, Smith had become the most noted patent lawyer in Boston. He was a large, thick-set man, a reminder of Benjamin Franklin, with clean-shaven face, long hair curling at the ends, frock coat, high collar, and beaver hat.

Storrow, on the contrary, was a small man, quiet in manner, conversational in argument, and an encyclopedia of definite information. He was so thorough that, when he became a Bell lawyer, he first spent an entire summer at his country home in Petersham, studying the laws of physics and electricity. He was never in the slightest degree spectacular. Once only, during the eleven years of litigation, did he lose control of his temper. He was attacking the credibility of a witness whom he had put on the stand, but who had been tampered with by the opposition lawyers. "But this man is your own witness," protested the lawyers. "Yes," shouted the usually soft-speaking Storrow; "he WAS my witness, but now he is YOUR LIAR."

The efficiency of these two men was greatly increased by a third--Thomas D. Lockwood, who was chosen by Vail in 1879 to establish a Patent Department. Two years before, Lockwood had heard Bell lecture in Chickering Hall, New York, and was a "doubting Thomas." But a closer study of the telephone transformed him into an enthusiast. Having a memory like a filing system, and a knack for invention, Lockwood was well fitted to create such a depart- ment. He was a man born for the place. And he has seen the number of electrical patents grow from a few hundred in 1878 to eighty thousand in 1910.

These three men were the defenders of the Bell patents. As Vail built up the young telephone business, they held it from being torn to shreds in an orgy of speculative competition. Smith prepared the comprehensive plan of defence. By his sagacity and experience he was enabled to mark out the general principles upon which Bell had a right to stand. Usually, he closed the case, and he was immensely effective as he would declaim, in his deep voice: "I submit, Your Honor, that the literature of the world does not afford a passage which states how the human voice can be electrically transmitted, previous to the patent of Mr. Bell." His death, like his life, was dramatic. He was on his feet in the courtroom, battling against an infringer, when, in the middle of a sentence, he fell to the floor, overcome by sickness and the responsibilities he had carried for twelve years. Storrow, in a different way, was fully as indispensable as Smith. It was he who built up the superstructure of the Bell defence. He was a master of details. His brain was keen and incisive; and some of his briefs will be studied as long as the art of telephony exists. He might fairly have been compared, in action, to a rapid-firing Gatling gun; while Smith was a hundred-ton cannon, and Lockwood was the maker of the ammunition.

Smith and Storrow had three main arguments that never were, and never could be, answered. Fifty or more of the most eminent lawyers of that day tried to demolish these arguments, and failed. The first was Bell's clear, straightforward story of HOW HE DID IT, which rebuked and confounded the mob of pretenders. The second was the historical fact that the most eminent electrical scientists of Europe and America had seen Bell's telephone at the Centennial and had declared it to be NEW--"not only new but marvellous," said Tyndall. And the third was the very significant fact that no one challenged Bell's claim to be the original inventor of the telephone until his patent was seventeen months old.

The patent itself, too, was a remarkable document. It was a Gibraltar of security to the Bell Company. For eleven years it was attacked from all sides, and never dented. It covered an entire art, yet it was sustained during its whole lifetime. Printed in full, it would make ten pages of this book; but the core of it is in the last sentence: "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." These words expressed an idea that had never been written before. It could not be evaded or overcome. There were only thirty-two words, but in six years these words represented an investment of a million dollars apiece.

Now that the clamor of this great patent war has died away, it is evident that Bell received no more credit and no more reward than he deserved. There was no telephone until he made one, and since he made one, no one has found out any other way. Hundreds of clever men have been trying for more than thirty years to outrival Bell, and yet every telephone in the world is still made on the plan that Bell discovered.

No inventor who preceded Bell did more, in the invention of the telephone, than to help Bell indirectly, in the same way that Fra Mauro and Toscanelli helped in the discovery of America by making the map and chart that were used by Columbus. Bell was helped by his father, who taught him the laws of acoustics; by Helmholtz, who taught him the influence of magnets upon sound vibrations; by Koenig and Leon Scott, who taught him the infinite variety of these vibrations; by Dr. Clarence J. Blake, who gave him a human ear for his experiments; and by Joseph Henry and Sir Charles Wheatstone, who encouraged him to persevere. In a still more indirect way, he was helped by Morse's invention of the telegraph; by Faraday's discovery of the phenomena of magnetic induction; by Sturgeon's first electro-magnet; and by Volta's electric battery. All that scientists had achieved, from Galileo and Newton to Franklin and Simon Newcomb, helped Bell in a general way, by creat- ing a scientific atmosphere and habit of thought. But in the actual making of the telephone, there was no one with Bell nor before him. He invented it first, and alone.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters