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Main article: "Invention of the telephone

There has been much dispute over who deserves recognition as the first inventor of the telephone, although Bell was credited with being the first to transmit articulate speech by undulatory currents of electricity. The Federazione Italiana di Elettrotecnica has devoted a museum to Meucci making a chronology of his inventing the telephone and tracing the history of the two trials opposing Meucci and Bell.[54][55] They support the claim that Antonio Meucci was the real inventor of the telephone.[56] However, some scholars outside Italy do not recognize the claims that Meucci's device had any bearing on the development of the telephone. Tomas Farley also writes that, "Nearly every scholar agrees that Bell and Watson were the first to transmit intelligible speech by electrical means. Others transmitted a sound or a click or a buzz but our boys [Bell and Watson] were the first to transmit speech one could understand."[57]

In 1834 Meucci constructed a kind of acoustic telephone as a way to communicate between the stage and control room at the theatre ""Teatro della Pergola" in "Florence. This telephone was constructed on the model of "pipe-telephones on ships and is still functional.["citation needed]

In 1848 Meucci developed a popular method of using electric shocks to treat "rheumatism. He used to give his patients two conductors linked to 60 Bunsen batteries and ending with a cork. He also kept two conductors linked to the same Bunsen batteries. He used to sit in his laboratory, while the Bunsen batteries were placed in a second room and his patients in a third room. In 1849 while providing a treatment to a patient with a 114V electrical discharge, in his laboratory Meucci is claimed to have heard his patient's scream through the piece of copper wire that was between them, from the conductors he was keeping near his ear. His intuition was that the "tongue" of copper wire was vibrating just like a leave of an "electroscope; which means that there was an electrostatic effect. In order to continue the experiment without hurting his patient, Meucci covered the copper wire with a piece of paper. Through this device he claimed hearing an unarticulated human voice. He called this device "telegrafo parlante" (lit. "talking telegraph").[10]["dead link]

On the basis of this prototype, Meucci is claimed to have worked on more than 30 kinds of telephones. In the beginning he was inspired by the telegraph. Differently from other pioneers of the telephone, such as "Charles Bourseul, "Philipp Reis, "Innocenzo Manzetti and others, he did not think about transmitting voice by using the principle of the telegraph key (in scientific jargon, the "make-and-break" method), but he looked for a "continuous" solution, which means without interrupting the electric flux. In 1856 Meucci reportedly constructed the first electromagnetic telephone, made of an electromagnet with a nucleus in the shape of a horseshoe bat, a diaphragm of animal skin, stiffened with potassium "dichromate and keeping a metal disk stuck in the middle. The instrument was hosted in a cylindrical carton box. He purportedly constructed this as a way to connect his second-floor bedroom to his basement laboratory, and thus communicate with his invalid wife.["citation needed]

Meucci separated the two directions of transmission in order to eliminate the so-called "local effect", adopting what we would call today a 4-wire-circuit. He constructed a simple calling system with a telegraphic manipulator which short-circuited the instrument of the calling person, producing in the instrument of the called person a succession of impulses (clicks), much more intense than those of normal conversation.["dubious ]["citation needed] As he was aware that his device required a bigger band than a telegraph, he found some means to avoid the so-called "skin effect" through superficial treatment of the conductor or by acting on the material (copper instead of iron).["dubious ]["citation needed]

In 1864 Meucci claimed to have produced his "best device", using an iron diaphragm with optimized thickness and tightly clamped along its rim. The instrument was housed in a shaving-soap box, whose cover clamped the diaphragm. In August 1870, Meucci reportedly obtained transmission of articulate human voice at a mile distance by using as a conductor a copper wire insulated by cotton. He called his device "telettrofono". Drawings and notes by Antonio Meucci claimed to be dated 27 September 1870 show that Meucci understood inductive loading on long distance telephone lines 30 years before any other scientists. The question of whether Bell was the true inventor of the telephone is perhaps the single most litigated fact in U.S. history, and the Bell patents were defended in some 600 cases. Meucci was a defendant in American Bell Telephone Co. v. Globe Telephone Co. and others (the court’s findings, reported in 31 Fed. Rep. 729).["citation needed]

N. Herbert in his History of the Telephone said:

To bait the Bell Company became almost a national sport. Any sort of claimant, with any sort of wild tale of prior invention, could find a speculator to support him. On they came, a motley array, 'some in rags, some on nags, and some in velvet gowns.' One of them claimed to have done wonders with an iron hoop and a file in 1867; a second had a marvellous table with glass legs; a third swore that he had made a telephone in 1860, but did not know what it was until he saw Bell's patent; and a fourth told a vivid story of having heard a bullfrog croak via a telegraph wire which was strung into a certain cellar in Racine, in 1851.[58]

Judge Wallace's ruling was bitterly regarded by historian Giovanni Schiavo as a miscarriage of justice.[59]

2002 congressional resolution[edit]

In 2002, on the initiative of U.S. Representative "Vito Fossella (R-NY), in cooperation with an Italian-American deputation, the "U.S. House of Representatives passed "United States HRes. 269 on Antonio Meucci stating "that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged." Within its preamble it stated that: "if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell."[60][61] The resolution's sponsor described it as "a message that rings loud and clear recognizing the true inventor of the telephone, Antonio Meucci."[62]

In 2002 some news articles reported: "the resolution said his "telettrofono", demonstrated in New York in 1860, made him the inventor of the telephone in the place of Bell, who took out a patent 16 years later."[3][26]

A similar resolution was introduced to the "U.S. Senate but no vote was held on the resolution.[63] [64] [65]

Despite the House of Representatives resolution, its interpretation as supporting Meucci's claim as the inventor of the telephone remains disputed.[66][42][67]

The Government of Canada responded ten days later by unanimously passing a "parliamentary motion stating that Alexander Graham Bell was the inventor of the telephone.[68][69]

Others,["who?] believe House Resolution 269 redressed a historic injustice, and the Italian newspaper "La Repubblica hailed the vote to recognise Meucci as a belated comeuppance for Bell.[3]

Canadian Parliamentary Motion on Alexander Graham Bell

Garibaldi–Meucci Museum[edit]

Garibaldi–Meucci House on "Staten Island

The "Order of the Sons of Italy in America maintains a Garibaldi–Meucci Museum on "Staten Island. The museum is located in a house that was built in 1840, purchased by Meucci in 1850, and rented to Giuseppe Garibaldi from 1850 to 1854. Exhibits include Meucci’s models and drawing and pictures relating to his life.[70][71]

In popular culture[edit]

Monument in Meucci Triangle, "Gravesend, Brooklyn

Other inventions[edit]

This list is also taken from Basilio Catania's historical reconstruction[74]


US patent images in "TIFF format

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Antonio Meucci's Illness". "The New York Times, 9 March 1889; accessed 25 February 2009.
  2. ^ Nese, Nicotra 1989, pp. 35–52.
  3. ^ a b c Carroll, Rory (17 June 2002). "Bell did not invent telephone, US rules". "The Guardian. London, UK. 
  4. ^ Several Italian encyclopaedias claim Meucci as the inventor of the telephone, including: – the "Treccani" [1] – the Italian version of Microsoft digital encyclopaedia, Encarta. – Enciclopedia Italiana di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti (Italian Encyclopedia of Science, Literature and Arts).
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Meucci, Sandra. Antonio and the Electric Scream: The Man Who Invented the Telephone, Branden Books, Boston, 2010; "ISBN 0-8283-2197-3, "ISBN 978-0-8283-2197-6, pp. 15-21, 24, 36–37, 70-73, 92, 98, 100.
  6. ^ Nese, Nicotra 1989, pp. 6–7.
  7. ^ Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, pp. 109.(Italian)
  8. ^ Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, p. 110.(Italian)
  9. ^ Meucci, S., pp. 37, 47–52.
  10. ^ a b Meucci's original drawings. Page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics,; accessed 15 June 2015.(Italian)
  11. ^ "Antonio Meucci's Illness",, 9 March 1889; retrieved 25 February 2009.
  12. ^ Meucci's original drawings. Page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics
  13. ^ Antonio Meucci stamp,; accessed 15 June 2015.(Italian)
  14. ^ Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, p. 112(Italian)
  15. ^ Globe Telephone Company 1884 – Famous ATT Patent Fight: 1996–2007,; accessed 15 June 2015.
  16. ^ a b U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. "The Story of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office". Washington, D.C., Government Printing Office. Washington:IA-SuDocs, Rev. August 1988. iv, 50p. MC 89-8590. OCLC 19213162. SL 89-95-P. S/N 003-004-00640-4. $1.75. C 21.2:P 27/3/988 – – – – Note: the 1861 filing fee is listed on Pg. 11, and the 1922 filing fee is listed on page 22.
  17. ^ a b U.S.P.T.O. & Patent Model Association. Digital version of The Story of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: (section) Act of 2 March 1861, 2001; retrieved from website, 25 February 2011.
  18. ^ Text of Meucci's Caveat, pages 16–18
  19. ^ Caveat, page 17 top
  20. ^ a b Caveat page 17
  21. ^ Caveat page 18
  22. ^ "metallic tube" in Caveat, page 16 bottom.
  23. ^ Caveat pages 17 bottom line – 18 top line
  24. ^ Caveat, page 17 bottom.
  25. ^ Caveat page 17, 3rd paragraph.
  26. ^ a b Estreich, Bob. Antonio Meucci: The Resolution; retrieved from website, 25 February 2011.
  27. ^ a b Robert V. Bruce, Bell: Alexander Graham Bell and the Conquest of Solitude, Cornell University Press (1973), page 272.
  28. ^ Catania, Basilio (October 1992). Sulle tracce di Antonio Meucci – Appunti di viaggio (in Italian). L'Elettrotecnica, Vol. LXXIX, N. 10, ARTI GRAFICHE STEFANO PINELLI, Milano. pp. 973–984. 
  29. ^ Profile,; accessed 15 June 2015.
  30. ^ "It seems likely that Bruce's narrative account of Bell's invention of the telephone will — with its shading and emphasis — be the definitive one. Bruce's treatment of rival telephone inventors is less convincing, however, simply because he labels them in such an offhand fashion — Daniel Drawbaugh, the 'Charlatan', Antonio Meucci, the 'innocent', Elisha Gray, whose 'bitterness' caused him 'to lash out [at Bell]'".Hughes, ThomasP. (22 June 1973). The Life and Work of Bell. Science. pp. 1268–1269. 
  31. ^ The Life and Work of Bell. (Book Reviews: Bell. Alexander Graham Bell and the Co
  32. ^ The Telephone Claimed by Meucci, Scientific American, N. 464. Blackie and Son Limited. 22 November 1884. p. 7407. 
  33. ^ The Telegraphic Journal & Electrical Review: The Philadelphia Electrical Exhibition. The Telegr. J. and Electr. Review. 11 October 1884. pp. 277–83. 
  34. ^ Bruce, Robert V. Bell: Alexander Graham Bell and the Conquest of Solitude, Cornell University Press (1973), page 278.
  35. ^ Aitken, William (1939). Who Invented The Telephone?. Blackie and Son Limited, London and Glasgow, pages 9–12. ,[2]
  36. ^ Smithsonian Institution: Person to Person – Exhibit Catalog, 100th Birthday of the Telephone, National Museum of History and Technology, December 1976.
  37. ^ Nese, Marco & Nicotra, Francesco. "Antonio Meucci, 1808-1889", Italy Magazine, Rome, 1989, p. 85.
  38. ^ Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, p. 114.(Italian)
  39. ^ Catania Basilio 2003 Antonio Meucci inventore del telefono, Notiziario Tecnico Telecom Italia, anno 12 n.1, dicembre 2003, p. 116 (Italian)
  40. ^ a b Antonio Meucci's Memorandum Book, page maintained by the Italian Society of Electrotechnics, (Italian) Archived 7 March 2007 at the "Wayback Machine.
  41. ^ Estreich Bob. Antonio Meucci: Twisting The Evidence, website, 25 February 2011.
  42. ^ a b Rockman, Howard B. "Intellectual Property Law for Engineers and Scientists." IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society, Wiley-IEEE, 2004, pp. 107–109; "ISBN 978-0-471-44998-0
  43. ^ "Augustus Hill Garland (1832–1899)", Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture website; retrieved 1 May 2009.
    Note: according to this article: "Garland soon found himself embroiled in scandal. While Garland was in the Senate, he had become a stockholder in, and attorney for, the Pan-Electric Telephone Company, which was organized to form regional telephone companies using equipment developed by J. Harris Rogers. The equipment was similar to the Bell telephone, and that company soon brought suit for patent infringement. Soon after he became attorney general, Garland was asked to bring suit in the name of the United States to invalidate the Bell patent. He refused...."
    However, in Rockman (2004), there is no mention of Garland refusing to do so, and moreover Garland had been given his shares in Pan-Electric, by the company, for free.
  44. ^ "Augustus Hill Garland (1874-1877)", Old Statehouse Museum website; retrieved 1 May 2009.
    Note: According to this biography: "He did, however, suffer scandal involving the patent for the telephone. The Attorney General's office was intervening in a lawsuit attempting to break Bell's monopoly of telephone technology, but it had come out that Garland owned stock in one of the companies that stood to benefit. This congressional investigation received public attention for nearly a year, and caused his work as attorney general to suffer."
  45. ^ Meucci profile,; accessed 15 June 2015.
  46. ^ "U.S. Supreme Court: U S v. AMERICAN BELL TEL CO, 167 U.S. 224 (1897)
  47. ^ United states V. American Bell Telephone Co., 128 U.S. 315 (1888),; accessed 15 June 2015.
  48. ^ Catania, Basilio Antonio Meucci -Questions and Answers: What did Meucci to bring his invention to the public?, website; accessed 8 July 2009.
  49. ^ History of ADT, website; retrieved 8 July 2009.
  50. ^ Rockman, Howard B."Intellectual Property Law for Engineers and Scientists", IEEE Antennas and Propagation Society, Wiley-IEEE, 2004, pp. 107–09; "ISBN 978-0-471-44998-0.
  51. ^ Grosvenor, Edwin S. "Memo on Misstatements of Fact in House Resolution 269 and Facts Relating to Antonio Meucci and the Invention of the Telephone",, 30 June 2002.
  52. ^ Bruce 1990, pp. 271–72.
  53. ^ "Funeral of Antonio Meucci". New York Times. 22 October 1889. Retrieved 25 February 2009. The funeral services over the body of the Italian patriot, Antonio Meucci, will take place at Clifton, S.I., this forenoon at 10 o clock. ... 
  54. ^ L'invenzione del telefono da parte di Meucci e la sua sventurata e ingiusta conclusione, (Italian) Archived 6 December 2006 at the "Wayback Machine.
  55. ^ Museo Storico Virtuale dell'AEIT Sala Antonio Meucci, (Italian) Archived 10 May 2006 at the "Wayback Machine.
  56. ^ Basilio Catania's reconstruction, in English
  57. ^ Antonio Meucci profile,; accessed 15 June 2015.
  58. ^ Casson, Herbert N. "The History of the Telephone", Chicago, IL: McClurg, 1910, pp. 96-97.
  59. ^ Catania Basilio "Antonio Meucci una vita per la scienza e per l'Italia, vol.1 "Antonio Meucci una vita per la scienza e per l'Italia, vol.2(in Italian), summary of Meucci's life and work and his trial against Bell, written on the occasion of the Meucci Day celebration in 2003 by the Italian Telecommunication Ministry [3]
  60. ^ House Resolution 269, dated 11 June 2002, written and sponsored by Rep. "Vito Fossella.
  61. ^ Bellis, Mary.Antonio Meucci and the invention of the telephone,; accessed 15 June 2015.
  62. ^ "Rep. Fossella's Resolution Honoring True Inventor of Telephone To Pass House Tonight". office of Congressman Vito J. Fossella. 2002-06-11. Archived from the original on 24 January 2005. Retrieved 2008-05-24. 
  63. ^ United States Senate. Bill Text: 108th Congress (2003–2004) S.RES.223.IS, U.S. Congress' Thomas website, 10 September 2003; retrieved 28 February 2011.
  64. ^ U.S. Senate. "SUBMISSION OF CONCURRENT AND SENATE RESOLUTIONS – (Senate – 10 September 2003)", U.S. Congress Thomas Website, Page: S11349, 10 September 2003.
  65. ^ S.Res.223 (108th Congress); retrieved from website on 28 February 2011.
  66. ^ Estreich, Bob. Antonio Meucci: (section) The Resolution; retrieved from website, 25 February 2011;
    "It should be noted that the text of the Resolution DOES NOT acknowledge Meucci as the inventor of the telephone. It does acknowledge his early work on the telephone, but even this is open to question."
  67. ^ Bethune, Brian. "Did Bell steal the idea for the phone?", Macleans, 23 January 2008; retrieved 30 April 2009.
  68. ^ "House of Commons of Canada, Journals No. 211, 37th Parliament, 1st Session, No. 211 transcript". Hansard of the Government of Canada, 21 June 2002, p 1620/cumulative p. 13006, time mark: 1205; retrieved 29 April 2009. Archived 22 December 2014 at the "Wayback Machine.
  69. ^ Fox, Jim, "Bell's Legacy Rings Out at his Homes", Globe and Mail, 2002-08-17.
  70. ^ The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
  71. ^ The Garibaldi–Meucci Museum (Staten Island site)
  72. ^ RAI "Meucci l'Italiano che ha inventato il telefono"
  73. ^ Google, Meucci e Bell (April 2008)
  74. ^ Basilio Catania's chronological list of Meucci's inventions,; accessed June 15, 2015.

Further reading[edit]

Documents of the trial[edit]

Scientific and historic research[edit]

Other media[edit]

External links[edit]

US Congress Resolution 269[edit]

Museums and celebrations[edit]

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