An Inventor’s Life in the Mid 19th Century

March 12, 2010

Private Journal Entry

April 4th, 1857

Alexander Graham Bell

Just woke up from the most vivid dream. Yesterday in school we were learning about the telegraph and the wonderful breakthroughs in communcations that have occured since its creation.

I couldn’t help but think that the telegraph can be so much more effective than it currently is. In my dream, I’m arguing that the telegraph is limited by its ability to send and receive only 1 message at a time. I don’t see any reason why it can’t be improved to send and receive multiple messages at the same time over the same wire. I called it the “harmonic telegraph”, because it’s based on the idea that several notes can be sent along the same wire at the same time as long as they are of a different pitch. I’m not sure if any of this makes much sense so I’m writing it all down before I forget it. Perhaps it will come in handy later on.


Private Journal Entry

November 13th, 1874

Alexander Graham Bell

Watson and I continue to struggle with our multiple telegraph. But wonderful news today as my future father-in-law, Mr Hubbard,  has agreed to further fund our efforts.  I was hoping it was his admiration for me and the committment I’ve made to his daughter that encouraged him to do so. Alas, it seems it was his distain for the complete control exhibited by Western Union that pushed him over the edge.

Never the less, Watson and I should now be able to complete our work, and none too soon, as rumor has it that there are many working on similar experiments, particularly Elisha Gray.

I felt terrible about withholding important information from Mr. Hubbard, but felt it prudent not to share with him what I stumbled upon this past summer… that my effort to improve the telegraph has led me to the distinct possibility of transmitting speech electrically.


Private Journal Entry

March 10th, 1876

Alexander Graham Bell

It’s impossible to believe….I could hardly hold my pen still to write these words…but we’ve done it! After multiple failures, Watson and I have finally done it! With our harmonic telegraph system setup in separate rooms, I uttered the words, “Mr. Watson-come here-I want to see you”! And it worked! We reacted like young school boys. Our exhuberance could not be contained. But there’s s0 much to do and so little time. Mr Gray is supposedly close to duplicating our invention and we must move quickly if we are to get the patent.


Private Journal Entry

Feb. 14th, 1876

Alexander Graham Bell

United States Patent No. 174,465 is ours. Our “improvement in telegraphy” recognized by the ultimate authority in such matters. And none too soon, either as I hear tell that Gray arrived mere hours after we did with a similar invention. He’s already making legal threats but I’m confident nothing will come of it. Now is the time to rejoice! Now is the time to take a deep breath and attempt to fully grasp what we’ve just stumbled upon. Now is the time to figure out how to best move forward with this most incredible find. The possibilities seem endless. I can envision a day when every home in America, nee the world, possesses one of our new instruments and can speak to their loved ones and friends with the greatest of ease. I envision a day this technology is improved to include imagry as well as voice. I’ll call it the photophone. I want to use these findings to create a means by which the deaf may be able to “hear”.  The skie’s the limit.

But first, I want to spend a bit of time investigating something I dreamed about last night. It had to do with a metal vacuum jacket that will help facilitate breathing. Not clear, but the prospect fascinates me. Much work to do.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: