Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the telephone on March 7, 1876.
Bell’s father, Melville Bell invented Visible Speech, which was a written method for teaching speaking to the deaf. Stemming from this, Alexander Graham Bell became interested in the idea of speech transmission over wires. He wished to develop a machine that would combine properties of a telegraph and a record player to create something called a “harmonic telegraph” in which people could speak with one another over a great distance.
Bell enlisted the help of a Boston machine shop worker, Thomas A. Watson, to create a prototype. Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for his invention (# 174,465) on March 7, 1876. This patent beat out a similar patent request from Elisha Gray by only a few hours.
Celebrate the telephone patent today by calling someone up on the phone. In this day and age, we get so caught up in text messaging and e-mailing that we forget how comforting it is to hear a loved one’s voice on the other end of the line.