Random Facts: The Telephone

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made the first successful test of his newly invented telephone, saying “Mr Watson, come here, I want to see you,” to his assistant Thomas Watson. However, there is some dispute over the precise words Bell spoke; Watson remembered them as “Mr Watson, come here, I want you.”

Bell had patented his invention three days earlier, even if it didn’t quite work yet. He used an idea from a patent of Elisha Gray. Who pinched the idea from whom is still disputed.

The Italian Antonio Meucci and the German Philip Reis had also invented earlier telephones.

On June 11, 2002, the US Congress passed a resolution recognising Meucci’s contribution to the invention of the telephone. Ten days later, the Canadian parliament declared Alexander Graham Bell the real inventor.

On March 10, 1891, Kansas undertaker Almon Strowger patented the first automatic telephone circuit switch. His intention was to stop the local switchboard operator who was the wife of a rival undertaker from switching his calls to her husband instead.

In 2014, the number of mobile phones in the world overtook the number of people.