The telephone - ringing from America thanks to Scottish Bell
Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell patented his concept of the telephone in 1876, having emigrated to Canada with his parents at the age of 23 and much of his scientific work took place there and in the United States.
The telephone came about thanks to a discovery that a thin metal sheet vibrating in an electromagnetic field produces an electrical waveform that corresponds to the vibration. It was was first publically demonstrated in 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.
Bell was influenced by his family background. Bell's father, grandfather, and brother had all been associated with work on elocution and speech, and both his mother and wife were deaf. His research on hearing and speech led him to experiment with hearing devices which eventually culminated in the first practical telephone.
Another inventor, Elisha Gray, patented a telephone on the same day, but apparently Bell paid his fee first and so his patent was prioritised.
As well as inventing and patenting the first practical telephone, Bell co-founded the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T) in 1885, nicknamed MaBell.
Bell considered his invention an intrusion on his real work as a scientist and refused to have a telephone in his study.
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