The great communicator
Alexander Bell’s spent his working life studying communication, particularly hearing and speech. His patent for what is considered to be the world’s first practical telephone developed from that. The Scotsman famously considered his telephone to be a potential distraction and would not have one in his study; the rest of the world, however, took to the device with great enthusiasm.
Bell filed his patent in 1875, outlining a method of transmitting sound via telegraph wire using ‘undulating current’ – what would later become known as amplitude modulation. Bell made the first clear speech call on March 10th 1876, contacting his assistant, engineer Thomas Watson in the next room, uttering the famous line: “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you.” Nearly forty years later Bell and Watson would participate in the world’s first transcontinental call, with Bell in New York speaking to Watson in San Francisco.