The Telephone Patent Conspiracy of 1876: The Elisha Gray-Alexander Bell Controversy and Its Many Players

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McFarland, Dec 15, 2000 - History - 269 pages
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The invention of the telephone is a subject of great controversy, central is which is the patent issued to Alexander Graham Bell on March 7, 1876. Many problems and questions surround this patent, not the least of which was its collision in the Patent Office with a strangely similar invention by archrival Elisha Gray. A flood of lawsuits followed the patent's issue; at one point the government attempted to annul Bell's patent and launched an investigation into how it was granted. From court testimony, contemporary accounts, government documents, and the participants' correspondence, a fascinating story emerges. More than just a tale of rivalry between two inventors, it is the story of how a small group of men made Bell's patent the cornerstone for an emerging telephone monopoly. This book recounts the little-known story in full, relying on original documents (most never before published) to preserve the flavor of the debate and provide an authentic account. Among the several appendices is the "lost copy" of Bell's original patent, the document that precipitated the charge of fraud against the Bell Telephone Company.
 

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Contents

Prologue
1
Profiles Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray
5
The Beginning The US Postal Telegraph Bill Nationalizing the Telegraph Industry
18
State of the Art A Brief Review of Telegraph Developments to 1874
27
Race for Multiple Telegraphy October 1874April 1875
36
The Day the Patent Was Filed May 1 1875 February 14 1876
51
Inside the Patent Office February 15March 7 1876
71
Decision That Changed History The Unexplained Order of Acting Commissioner Spear
85
The Affidavit Confessions of Former Patent Examiner Wilber
165
Revelation of Patent Fraud Uncovering the Lost Copy of Bells Patent Application
176
Charges of Collusion Are All Moonshine Claim Defenders of Judges Lowell and Gray
188
Appendix A John Paul Bocock The Romance of the Telephone
201
Dr Elisha Gray and the Invention of the Telephone February 2 1901
217
Appendix C Patent Office Copy of Grays Caveat
221
Appendix D Patent Office Copy of Bells Patent No 174465
225
Appendix E Patent Office Copy of Bells Patent No 186787
233

Mr Watson Come Here The Closely Guarded Secret of March 10 1876
94
BellGray Letters Revealing Correspondence Between Two Adversaries
103
Birth of the Bell Telephone Company Telegraphy Gives Way to Telephony
114
The First Challenge The Dowd Case
127
Other Challengers Two Notable Cases and Their Decisions
141
The Reis Question Reis Telephone in the CourtroomIt Could Sing but Could It Talk?
155
Appendix F Charles Bourseul LIllustration August 26 1854
241
G George Browns Copy of Bells Patent Application
245
Selected Bibliography
253
Index
255
Copyright

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About the author (2000)

A. Edward Evenson is an industrial engineer living in Rolling Meadows, Illinois.

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