The Boy Who Discovered that Wire can “Talk”: The Invention of the Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell’s interests began to broaden and include the mysteries of telegraphy. He knew that telegraph messages are carried by means of a charged wire, and he wondered why the human voice could not be carried on the wire. The more he thought about this idea the more reasonable it seemed to him. So he began to try to make an instrument that would send the voice over the wire and catch its clear tones at the other end. Alexander and his friend Thomas set to work. They strung a wire through the house in which they were rooming, and at each end they attached a small instrument which Alexander had instructed Thomas to make. Then Thomas took his station in the basement, down three flights of stairs, and Alexander tried to talk to him. A sound came over the wire, which Thomas recognized as Alexander’s voice, but he could not make out a word. This did not discourage the young men, for they knew they were on the right track. So they continued to work and work, trying to improve the instrument. Months passed by, and nearly a year, and then one day, while trying out their latest improvement, Thomas heard Alexander say, “Watson, come here, I want you.” With a bound of delight Thomas sprang up the flights of stairs, and Alexander met him with a beaming face. At last they had succeeded. To read the full story about this visionary inventor, look for “Boys of Grit Who Never Gave Up” available at


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