Not long ago there weren't any. now we can't imagine life without them. And like all great developments the cell phone has its roots many years in the past, specifically, in the inventions of the immortal Alexander Graham Bell, the man who invented the telephone. Fort Wayne's Karpeles Manuscript Museum is hosting an incredible collection of Alexander Graham Bell's handwritten notes and diagrams that document his creation of the telephone. Samuel Morse invented the telegraph in 1837 but here Bell sketches out his vision of multiple telegraphy, telegraph lines capable of carrying two messages at a time. That led to this. These images, sketched by Bell himself, are of a telegraph system that could carry many signals at once, each signal mimicking a different musical pitch. With enough such signals the result could duplicate human speech. That makes this page of sketches Bell's first thoughts of a telephone.
“The importance of preparation,” emphasizes museum director Al Brothers III, “the importance of trying to think through the process. That one simple thought spurred everything else.”
This engraving illustrates Bell's first working telephone system with electric transmitters, carriers and receivers. In 1878 the first long distance telephone line was built, 61 miles long, connecting three California gold mining operations. This is the handwritten order for the line consisting of 700 poles at a cost of about five thousand dollars. Fourteen years later the first long distance line was built between New York City and Chicago, this is a photograph of Bell himself demonstrating the system for astounded investors. The story of the telephone is a remarkable tale of American ingenuity and invention starring one of this countries towering geniuses, and you can get as close to that story and the inventor as it is possible to get, right here in 21 Country.