14/02/2019
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Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent for the telephone - On this day in history

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On 14 February 1876, Alexander Graham Bell filed patent number 174461 for the telephone. Within a few hours, Bell's rival Elisha Gray filed a patent for a similar invention. It would be seventeen years and more than 600 law suits later before the Supreme Court of the USA decided in Bell's favour and within a year, the first telephone exchange was created.

In 1877, Bell set up the Bell Telephone Company and began making refinements to his designs, whilst keeping the public updated through a series of demonastrations - interest was such that by 1886, more than 150,000 households in the US had a telephone. The first transcontinental telephone call (from New York to San Francisco) was made in 1915.

Further reading

Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention by Charlotte Gray

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