Alexander Graham Bell: The world’s first call took place on March 10, 1876

“Mr Watson, come here. I want to see you” (Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you). Alexander Graham Bell makes his first in his workshop at , calling Thomas Watson’s assistant from the next room and proving his ability to “talk with electricity”. The first phone communication in the world took place on March 10, 1876 in Boston. The event was considered Bell’s “most successful” as it was Bell’s first successful use of the phone. Yet many are the ones who question that he was the “father” of the device that we can no longer imagine our lives without. The fact is that the phone is something we cannot part with nowadays. Phone devices are necessary for our work and our social life, for surfing the Internet and exchanging messages and perhaps now less for telephone communications. One day today, Alexander Graham Bell calls his assistant through their experimental device. His voice sounds pretty clear. This was the world’s first phone communication. “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you”. It all started with that phrase. Bell’s voice had been transferred through their experimental device and had been heard very clearly on the upper floor. Who Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 3, 1847. Alexander Melville Belm’s father, was a university professor and had published 200 books trying to improve the education of the deaf. His wife and mother Alexander, Eliza Grace Simons Bell, was deaf. Alexander and his two brothers were trained by their father in order to continue what he started, that is, to throw communication bridges between people with hearing problems and the rest of society. His valuable companion on this journey was Thomas Watson, a young scientist and machine model manufacturer experimenting in the construction of a layout that would transmit sound with the help of electricity. On March 7, 1876, the U.S. Patent Office gave Bell the relevant diploma that held the device that broadcasts sound and voice by telegraph. In 1877 she married his 10-year younger deaf ex-student Mabel Hubard. Who finally invented the phone? Elisa Gray was working on something similar to Bell. The signal, as in Bell’s case, was reinforced thanks to the vibration of a metal rod construction. With the exception, however, that the transfer of this signal to Gray’s invention was done by means of water. On February 14, 1986 Gray went to the Patent Office in Boston where he surprisingly found that Bell had also applied for a diploma for the device on February 14, the same year, but at 2 after noon, that is two hours earlier than him! Those two hours cost Elisa Gray the date with eternity… On March 7, 1987, the American Patent Office patented Bell. From that day on a great court marathon began. Even today, many accuse Bell of stealing the invention from Elisa Grey, but Bell patented a device that did not operate with liquid. In fact, seeing Gray’s system had potential, he only used it in the Watson experiment, confirming his belief in electric speech transmission. Afterwards, he developed his own electromagnetic model, better range and functionality, that is, the phone, like above and below we know today. Finally as the inventor of the phone, Alexander Graham Bell was patented, who opened his own company, Bell Company, in 1877. Scary similarities, however, between the two men’s plans, even nowadays troubled experts on who eventually influenced who and who patented the other. Bell and Gray cross-referenced their swords in court which ruled that the invention was made simultaneously, but Bell had a priority. Books argue that Bell not only stole Gray’s ideas, but may even bribe a patent inspector to let him secretly see his file. Bell’s company was a huge success and – thanks to the continuous improvements of the invention – by 1886, over 150,000 American citizens had phones. It is said that he did not have a phone in his house. But a third person appeared in the whole story. In 1887, during the confrontation with Elisa Grey, another contender of the title of the father of the phone was presented. Italian immigrant Antonio Meucci. He had started working as a customs guard in Italy, a theatre engineer in Havana, then became a waxmaker and ended up a brewer. In 1857 he built a device to communicate from the candlery with his wife’s room across the house. It turned the magnetic vibrations into sound and vice versa, technology used decades later on Bell’s phones. But Meucci’s problem was economical. In 1871 he asked for a patent from the Washington office, but he had no money for the documents and just got a certificate. Every year he had to renew it, but after two years his wife became ill, he became broke and the process ended. Meucci was looking to sell the invention and the director of a New York company persuaded him to send him plans to run tests and find out if it was worth it. For about two years, Henry Grant postponed the trials and brought in various pretensions to keep the plans and not return them. As it later turned out in court, between 1874 and 1876, Graham Bell was an advisor to that company! In 1886 the U.S. Supreme Court justified Meucci as to the paternity of the invention, but did not recognize him as a right of exploitation, given that his certificate had expired since 1873. With a decision that will change the history books, in 2002 the United States recognized Florentine Antonio Meucci as the inventor of the phone, 113 years after his death, according to . It is a great victory of the Italian-American community seeking for years justification for the unknown inventor, who saw Scottish Alexander Graham Bell taking credit for his own patent. The House of Representatives first acknowledged the injustice suffered by the Italian immigrant, who had presented the first phone in 1860 in New York City, 16 years before Bell patented the patent. The Italian-American press had even admired this invention, but the news never reached the English-speaking Press and few knew about the “telephone”, as it was originally called. Meucci then faced a series of misfortunes. He could not learn the English language, no bank supported him financially, while he brought serious burns after an accident on a steamer. Indeed he was facing serious financial problems and could not pay $250 to obtain the patent. He then sent his models to the Western Union telegraph company, but none of the executives agreed to meet him in person. When he even asked to get his models back, the company said they were gone! Two years later, Graham Bell, who shared the same workshop with Meucci, patented the phone, signed a profitable deal with Western Union and gained world fame. Meucci moved legally. The Supreme Court agreed to consider the case and he was very close to winning, but died in 1889. The case was “buried” and vindication was late but came finally 113 years later, thanks to the insistence of the Italian-American community seeking justice. In 2002, with the efforts of MP Vito Fossela, the House of Representatives acknowledged Meucci’s offer to the invention of the phone, but without the fact that the issue was resolved permanently. Whatever became Bell’s name would stay in history for the invention of a machine that would revolutionize the way we communicate: The phone. After the news of his death, on August 2, 1922, the entire telephone system in Canada and the United States was closed for a minute.