The First Telephone Call

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Why was Bell so interested in human sound?

The First Telephone Call

We all know the story: Alexander Graham Bell of Salem, Mass. spoke into his new invention addressing his partner, Thomas Watson in another room. Watson was able to clearly hear the famous words, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!" This is now widely regarded as the first telephone call. But did you know that Bell was only 29 years old when he received his patent on March 7th, 1876? Or that sound had been a constant interest of Bell, partly due to the fact that his mother was almost completely deaf?

When Bell established Bell Telephone Company just a year later, the telegraph system was ended and a new era had been launched. Because Bell already understood much about the pitches of the human voice--his father was involved in speech pathology--he believed that transmitting instruments with varying rates of vibration could be used to make and break an electric circuit allowing a fluid current over a wire that carried sound.

However, it's a good thing that Bell met Watson as he already had experience helping others perfect new inventions. Later Bell developed a way to transmit sound on a beam of light, a jump start to what is now called fiber optics. But, he was unable to solve the issue of interruptions that occurred so these principals did not fully develop in our society until much later in history. Bell's patent number is 174,465 and his patent application included detailed drawings of his new invention.



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