Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Elisha Gray

 Elisha Gray is not as well known as Alexander Bell but should be. I read with interest the article by Frank Daniels III , "Elisha Gray sparked communication revolution". 
The above book explores the battle of who actually invented the telephone.  I have not read the book but Mr. Daniels alluded to it in his article. 
Who got credit for inventing the telephone? Have you always heard it was Alexander Graham  Bell. After consuming the article, I went in search of more INFO on the internet. Ah, what a wonderful tool for those of us who crave facts, history and fiction. 
Elisha Gray was born on a farm near Barnesville, Ohio on August 2, 1835. Evenson wrote that Gray built his first telegraph when he was 10 or 11. Gray developed a string of inventions, including a telegraph repeater and a printer, that brought him to the attention of Western Union's General superintendent, Anson Stager. In 1869 he bought into an electrical shop and Stager wanted to invest but only if the company was moved to Chicago. The plant was spared by the great Chicago fire in 1871 and later the next year the plant was sold and renamed Western Electric Manufacturing Co which eventually became the main supplier to Bell's telephone company. In 1926 Western Electric spun off its distribution business and named the new entity after its founders, Graybar Electric Company.  This has nothing to do with the controversy but I thought it was good reading. 
What happen on February 14, 1876? First, in the morning of that day, Mr. Gray delivered a caveat, a preliminary version of the patent and it was placed in an inbox by a clerk. Secondly, the attorneys for Mr. Bell came to the same office and INSISTED that the intake clerk deliver their patent application  to the patent examination officer. This made Mr. Bell's application on that day to be recorded as the fifth patent of the day and Mr. Grays is recorded as 39th. 
Interesting fact, in Bell's 1876 US Patent 174,465, was claim 4, a method of producing variable electrical current in a circuit by varying the resistance in the circuit. This feature WAS NOT SHOWN IN ANY OF BELL'S PATENT DRAWINGS but WAS SHOWN in Elisha Gray's drawings in his caveat filed the same day. (SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING WAS ROTTEN AT THE PATENT OFFICE)
Reading further, I found out that one of the attorneys, one Marcellus Bailey was a Civil War Army companion of the Patent Examiner, Zenus Wilbur. Mr. Wilbur was an alcoholic and owed Mr. Bailey MONEY. 
On March 10, 1976, using Gray's water microphone design, Mr. Bell uttered the famous "Mr Watson--come here---I want to see you."
The Kitty Justice is I believe, Gray was robbed by greedy attorneys and corrupt patent examiner and Bell's wish for fame. 
BTW There is more to Elsha Gray's story but you will have to read it yourself. I wish to thank Frank Daniels III for his article and Wikipedia for the facts given in this post. 
Another Kitty Justice is if something is repeated enough does it make it true. Best look closer at all history and statements to see if they are true history or myth. Now did Alexander Graham Bell invent the telephone as we were taught?


Anonymous said...

Is there some evidence that Alexander Graham Bell should be a mere associate inventor?

Changes in the wind said...

And we think all the frauds and scams of today are new!

Lady Di Tn said...

I think so since he used Gray's drawings but a legal battle came about and it was settled as Bell being the inventor. If someone used your drawings and claimed the idea was theirs would you not feel put upon. Check out the book. Peace

No just more televised today. Remember back then news was not instant so the majority of people had no idea of the frauds and scams until it was too late. Peace

Small City Scenes said...

Great story. I am sure there a great many things we don't know about some inventions. Money talks and the scum rises to the top of the pond. It is so true about the news traveling fast today. Now we see things happening in front of our eyes (tele) when before it took weeks or longer to find out anything. You are very astute. MB

Lady Di Tn said...

Thanks. I have had lots of reading time so I like to share. It does make you think. Thanks and Peace

Lee said...

How extraordinary...and how very interesting!

Lady Di Tn said...

Thanks Lee