Random Facts about the History of the Telephone
HISTORY OF THE TELEPHONE
The principle of the telephone, that sounds could be conveyed to a distance by a distended wire, was demonstrated by Robert Hook in 1667, but no practical application was made of the discovery until 1821, when Professor Wheatstone exhibited his "Enchanted Lyre," in which the sounds of a music-box were conveyed from a cellar to upper rooms. The first true discoverer of the speaking telephone, however, was Johaun Philipp Reis, a German scientist and professor in the institute at Friedrichsdorf. April 25, 1861, Reis exhibited his telephone at Frankfort. This contained all the essential features of the modern telephone, but as its commercial value was not at all comprehended, little attention was paid to it. Reis, after trying in vain to arouse the interest of scientists in his discovery, died in 1874, without having reaped any advantage from it, and there is no doubt that his death was hastened by the distress of mind caused by his continual rebuffs. Meanwhile, the idea was being worked into more practical shape by other persons, Professor Elisha Gray and Professor A.G. Bell, and later by Edison. There is little doubt that Professor Gray's successful experiments considerably antedated those of the others, but Professor Bell was the first to perfect his patent. February 12, 1877, Bell's articulating telephone was tested by experiments at Boston and Salem, Mass., and was found to convey sounds distinctly from one place to the other, a distance of eighteen miles. This telephone was exhibited widely in this country and in Europe during that year, and telephone companies were established to bring it into general use. Edison's carbon "loud-speaking" telephone was brought out in 1878. It is not worth while to go into details of the suits on the subject of priority of invention. The examiner of patents at Washington, July 21, 1883, decided that Professor Bell was the first inventor, because he was the first to complete his invention and secure a full patent. Since 1878 there have been many improvements in the different parts of the telephone, rendering it now nearly perfect in its working.