American inventor Alexander Graham Bell tested his telephone in 1876, calling his assistant to say "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you."

Illustration courtesy the Bell Collection, National Geographic

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  • On March 7, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell received a patent for the telephone. The invention of the telephone revolutionized the way people communicate with one another. The device allowed people to instantly and effectively talk to each other over long distances.

    When Bell died in 1922, phones throughout the United States had a moment of silence, to honor the man who made those phones possible. The Bell Telephone Company eventually became AT&T, which is still in operation more than 125 years later.

  • Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry
    Alexander Graham Bell Noun

    (1847-1922) American inventor of the telephone.

    communicate Verb

    to exchange knowledge, thoughts, or feelings.

    device Noun

    tool or piece of machinery.

    invention Noun

    new idea, machine, product, device, or process.

    patent Noun

    legal right to make or sell an invention.

    revolutionize Verb

    to completely change a process or way of doing something.

    telephone Noun

    electronic tool and system for communication by sound or speech.