Who Invented the Telephone?


Christopher Jones comments on the claim that a Black invented the tlephone: "That's odd, I heard that the Germans invented the telephone in the mid 19th century and that it was indeed patented. I guess that Africans must have had a hand in the telephone's creation -- probably by banging bongos in the jungle. But I think that if any WAISer has ever visited the Canary Island of Gomera, he would know that the Spaniards invented a sort of "Whistle-phone," whose short hand code is now being taught in schools. As for revisionism, if it corrects a long held bias based on lies, it can only be for the better. The US has promoted a sort of centrifuge multi-culturalism that has destroyed the fabric of its society and if goes unchecked will probably break up the country. Like it or not, the US was built by WASPs".

From Moscow, Cmeron Sawyer writes: "I have never heard of any Russian inventor of the telephone. Wineburg must be thinking of the television, which a Russian, Zworykin, patented in 1923, calling it, quaintly, the iconoscope.

The telephone was, however, apparently really was invented by an Italian, Meucci, who even made certain patent applications for it, and demonstrated working models of it in public some years before Bell. The U.S. Congress actually passed a resolution recognizing Meucci as the inventor of the telephone; see http://www.popular-science.net/history/meucci_congress_resolution.html. Such cases, where the same idea was worked out in parallel by different inventors, were quite common in those days".

RH: How many American history textbooks mention that an Italian, Meucci, invented the telephone?

Randy Black gives us the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about the invention of the telephone.. It is not what American children learn in school: "On June 15th, 2002, the US Congress officially recognized that the Italian inventor Antonio Meucci is to be credited for the invention of the telephone, and not Alexander G. Bell, as so far claimed. Antonio Meucci was an Italian emigrant who left his native Florence in 1835 for the New World, never to return to Europe. After working in Cuba for some years he arrived in New York in 1850 and became a friend there of Giuseppe Garibaldi, later the unifier of Italy. Meucci lived on Staten Island until his death in poverty at the age of 81.
A prolific inventor but a failure as a businessman, Meucci invented a device he called the telectrophone for communicating with his bedridden wife from his workshop. He patented his invention in 1871 but failed to find a commercial backer.

Five years later a Scots-born American, Alexander Graham Bell, successfully patented the instrument we now know as the telephone. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/2956240.stm and
http://www.popular-science.net/history/meucci_bell.html

Philip Reis, a self-educated physicist, was born in 1834 and began experimenting with sound devices in his teens. … Reis demonstrated a more professional version of what he termed an "electrical eardrum" before the Physical Society of Frankfort, Germany on October 26, 1861. The verses of a song were transmitted from the room over a three-hundred-foot line to a hospital room. Thereafter, there were many other public demonstrations of improved versions of the telephon, a word Reis coined. The demonstrations started 15 years before Bell took out a patent for a similar device. The presentation in 1861 was the first public demonstration of the successful conversion of electrical into auditory waves. On March 22, 1876, a New York Times editorial entitled "The Telephone," lauded Philip Reis as its inventor. Bell was not mentioned in the editorial; evidently the writer had never heard of him. Bell later claimed to have transmitted his fabled message to Watson 12 days before that editorial appeared.

In 1878, two years after Bell took out a patent for an "improvement" on the telephone, European physicists erected a monument to Philip Reis as its inventor. German textbooks credited Reis with the invention until the Nazis expunged Reis’s name from German literature. The name has now been only partially reinstated. See.
http://www.hebrewhistory.org/factpapers/phone2.html" RH: I assume Reis was Jewish.

Vetsi Ozcan of Turkey comments on Christoper Jones' report on the whistle phone in the CAnary Islands: "it reminded me of a small region on the Black Sea coast of Turkey. The same method of whistle signaling is
used there. I believe the mountainous region of this coast is quite similar to the geography of Gomera. I really am not sure if they still keep whistling, after the wide spread distribution of mobile phones, but I am sure they were using it as late as mid 1990s. I wonder if there has ever been any research on this and other unusual methods of communication".

George Sassoon says: "Was it the "Spaniards" who invented the Gomera whistle-phone, or was it the aboriginal inhabitants (Guanches?), later wiped out by the Spaniards? I saw somewhere that a whistle-language also exists in Latin America -perhaps among survivors of the Gomera massacre. Perhaps the blacks, to give them their due, invented the telephone system consisting of two tin cans connected by a bit of string"

RH: The Guanches were "absorbed" by the Spaniards who conquered the ialands at th end of the fifteenth century..
I can find nothing on the origin of the whistle phone. The Blacks certainly did not invent the tin can, and I see no reason for crediting them with the discovery of this kind of communication. Early forms of communication consisted of of using hills on which fires were lit or drums were banged. However, we should limit our discussion yo the telephone as it is commonly understood.

Ronald Hilton -


Webmaster