The telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse in 1835 and it was Alexander Graham Bell’s intention to improve on the telegraph that lead to his invention of the telephone. It was on March 10, 1876 when Bell in one room and his assistant Thomas Watson in another when he shouted the words, ‘Mr. Watson – come here – I want to see you’ into the transmitter. Watson was able to hear what was said and reported back to Bell the exact words. With this the first working telephone was born.
Bell’s experiments with the telegraph was an attempt to transmit multiple messages over the same wire at the same time. He felt that this could be done if each signal would have it’s own different pitch.
On the same day, February 14, 1876, Bell and Elisha Gray with his Western Electric Manufacturing Company, submitted their patients to the United States Patient Office in Washington DC. Bell’s paperwork with application fee was completed first, Gray’s caveat was entered first, but his filing fee was entered after Bell’s. On March 7, 1876, three days before the successful experiment, Bell received Patent Number 174,465.
Gray would file lawsuits challenging Bell’s patent. He would lose them all, mainly because it was determined that he failed to take actions to complete his caveat until others had demonstrated a working unit. Gray still wasn’t left in the dark since he did receive a patent for the telautograph, a way to transmit handwriting through telegraph systems. It can be called the first fax machine
The Bell Telephone Company was created in 1877 and by 1886, 10 years after the first voice transmission, over 150,000 people in the United States owned telephones.
There really isn’t a sole inventor of the telephone. Bell’s ideas closely resembled Gray’s. The telephone’s transmitter was greatly improved when Edison’s carbon microphone was introduced. Not to mention that the entire idea of the telephone is really just an improvement and enhancement of Morse’s telegraph.