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Pair of early Bell telephones, 1878.

Science Museum Photo Studio

Pair of early Bell telephones, 1878.
4 0 c m
actual image size: 23cm x 32cm


After experimenting with various acoustical devices, Bell (1847-1922) produced the first intelligible telephonic transmision with a mesage to his asistant on 5 June 1875. He patented this device as the telephone in 1876, a patent he had to defend against Elisha Gray. Bell, who became a naturalised American in 1874, also invented the phonograph (1880) and the gramophone (1887). Among Bell's other achievements was the photophone which transmitted sound on a beam of light - a precursor of today's optical fibre systems, and the invention of techniques for teaching speech to the deaf.

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