The telephone vastly lowered the cost of communication by eliminating the need for Morse Code and enabling real-time voice conversations.

Bell was a Scottish immigrant, a teacher for deaf children. The inventor of the telephone would go on to marry one of his students, a then 15-year-old deaf young woman.

Due to his work with the deaf and his temperament as a natural tinkerer, Bell focused on a telegraph to help deaf people communicate. That work segued into a voice telegraph, that Bell termed the telephone.

In 1874 Antonio Meucci arguably created the telephone, two years before Alexander Graham Bell. Meucci had several working telephones but lacked the capital to either fully commercialize or adequately patent his innovation. In 2002 the US House of Representatives passed an acknowledgment stating Meucci invented the telephone. “If Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the (patent) caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell,” reads the proclamation.

Whomever actually invented the telephone it was Edison, in 1876, who eventually created and patented the amplifier. That enabled people to more easily hear the transmissions. Edison’s amplifier made Bell’s telephone commercially viable, usable by and useful to ordinary people.

Bell’s telephone company, established in 1877, focused on local lines. It was eventually acquired by the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T), that focused on long lines, in 1899.

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