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Who invented the telephone?


Who invented the telephone? In Godfather III, Joey claims it was invented by an Italian. Is that true?

5124 day(s) ago

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cabbagehead
Like most inventions, the telephone wasn't created solely by one inventor: Many people were working on the idea at the same time. In most of the world, Alexander Graham Bell is considered to be the inventor, although many people in Italy claim the first phone was created by Antonnio Meucci. Western Electric co-founder Elisha Gray also claimed to have invented the telephone, eventually leading to a lawsuit against Bell over patent rights. There's also Innocenzo Manzetti, who most think is the first person to come up with the concept of the telephone.

If that isn't confusing enough, all of these inventors visited or worked with one another at some point before Bell "invented" the telephone. Gray, Meucci, and Manzetti all claimed that Bell ripped off some of their designs during these meetings. However, while each person developed some element used in the phone, none of their designs combined everything Bell had in his phone prototype.

Gray was the closest to claiming a part of the phone's invention, as Bell's device used a water-based microphone that Gray had designed and shown to Bell. However, Gray never demonstrated a working model, so he couldn't make any patent claims. This point was made moot a couple years later when Thomas Edison invented the far superior carbon microphone, replacing Gray's contraption.

So, Bell got the patents for the telephone, but Gray, Meucci, and Manzetti all contributed technology, intentionally or unintentionally.

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