Unravelling History’s Telephone Patent Controversy: Alexander Graham Bell Vs. Elisha Gray

Inventor titans of history have battled it out to get their invention patented first. Those that did are fondly remembered including Alexander Graham Bell and his famous invention, the telephone. However, not many remember Elisha Gray, an electrical engineer, who many consider the true inventor of the device, who narrowly missed his chance to profit in terms of fame and fortune had he filed hours earlier before Bell in the year 1876. On February 14th his patent filing to the USPTO stated:
“It is the object of my invention to transmit the tones of the human voice through a telegraphic circuit, and reproduce them at the receiving end of the line, so that actual conversations can be carried on by persons at long distances apart. I have invented and patented methods of transmitting musical impressions or sounds telegraphically, and my present invention is based upon a modification of the principle of said invention, which is set forth and described in letters patent of the United States, granted to me July 27th, 1875, respectively numbered 166,095, and 166,096, and also in an application for letters patent of the United States, filed by me, February 23d, 1875”
Alas, it was not to be. Watch my video below which offers tantalizing insights (and lessons to inventors) about this famous patent case.

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