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Did Bell Really Invent The Phone?

It’s one of the facts everyone learns in school – the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell.   But author Seth Shulman is set to debunk history in his new book, TheTelephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret. He claims that Bell plagiarized the phone design of his rival Elisha Gray.   That’s a big claim, but on its website,Shulman’s publisher, W W Norton, says that “"Bell furtively — and illegally — copied part of Elisha Gray’s invention in the race tosecure what would become the most valuable US patent ever issued. As Bell’s device led to the world’s largest monopoly, he hid his invention’s illicit beginnings."   That monopoly, ofcourse, was AT&T.   Shulman not only looked at Bell’s letters, but also his journals, and has concluded that he colluded with a patent examiner tolook at Gray’s patent documents, and thanks to a feisty legal team was able to claim credit for filing his patent first.           The book ispublished next month.

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