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The invention of the telephone can be attributed to two great minds: Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell. These two men were American inventors working independently on similar projects that culminated in the creation of the first telephone in the 1870s. They both designed the first instruments that could be used to transmit sound through electronic means (Casson, 2007). Gray and Graham Bell could not have been successful in their inventions had it not been for the effort of other inventors who had worked on projects that involved the transfer of sound from one device to another.
In 1831, Michael Faraday discovered that it was possible to covert metallic vibrations to electrical impulses. This became the most important basic principle of the telephone, although nobody worked on it up until 1861. This was when Johann Reis designed the first instrument that could convert sound to electromagnetic waves and back to sound. However this device had many shortcomings including its inability to transmit several frequencies at the same time. In 1854, Antonio Meucci invented the telettrofono, a device which could be used to communicate through voice (Mercer, 2006, 76).
One of the factors that contributed greatly to the invention of the telephone was the telegraph, which had been in existence for more than thirty years by the time the telephone was designed. Although it was a highly successful communication system, it had its own problems. For instance, its use of the Morse code greatly limited how one could send and receive messages. in 1870 the Englishman electrician C.F. Varley patented some audio telegraphs that were based on the invention of Reis. In 1874, Poul la Cour was bale to transmit tones through audio telegraphs and telegraph lines (Noll, 2001, 151. However, the instruments were not made to transmit actual human sound.
Gray and Bell used Reis’s instrument to make their own versions of the telephone. Gray had designed a tone telegraph similar to la
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