Book argues that Bell stole phone idea





A new book claims to have definitive evidence of a long-suspected technological crime — that Alexander Graham Bell stole ideas for the telephone from a rival, Elisha Gray.

In "The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret," journalist Seth Shulman argues that Bell — aided by aggressive lawyers and a corrupt patent examiner — got an improper peek at patent documents Gray had filed, and that Bell was erroneously credited with filing first.

Shulman believes the smoking gun is Bell's lab notebook, which was restricted by Bell's family until 1976, then digitized and made widely available in 1999.

The notebook details the false starts Bell encountered as he and assistant Thomas Watson tried transmitting sound electromagnetically over a wire. Then, after a 12-day gap in 1876 — when Bell went to Washington to sort out patent questions about his work — he suddenly began trying another kind of voice transmitter. That method was the one that proved successful.


comments powered by Disqus

Subscribe to our mailing list