Monday, March 3, 2008


Antonio Meucci, the great Italian Inventor, had a career that was at the same time extra-ordinary and tragic. An emigrant to New York, Meucci continued without ceasing and with vigour, a project he had began in Havana, Cuba. It was the invention later called the teletrophone, and was related to electronic communications. Antonio Meucci configured a rudimentary line of communication in his house on Staten Island which connected the lower storey of the house with the first. Later, when his wife began to suffer arthritis which prohibited her from moving, Meucci created the permanent connection between his laboratory and his wife’s bedroom on the second floor of the house. Having spent a major part of his savings to finance his work, Meucci was unable to commercialize his invention, although he announced it to the public in 1860. Unfortunately his decription and publication in the New York Times was written in Italian.Antonio Meucci never learnt English enough to comunicate with the business society of the United Status of America. He was unable to attain sufficient funding for the necessary paperwork to process his patents, and due to this had to ask for a “renewable reserve” which for a year impeded anyone from presenting a similar patent. This petition was presented first on the 28 December, 1871. Meucci later discovered that the laboratory afiliated to Western Union had lost the models of his work. As Meucci was at this time living on public assistance, he was unable to renew his “reserve” after 1874.
In March, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, who had done some experiments in the same laboratory where Meucci had worked on his, obtained a patent and recieved the credit for the invention of the telephone. On the 13th January, 1887, the Government of the United States of America tried to annul the patent Bell had gotten on the grounds of evidence of fraud and distortion. The case was found viable by the Supreme Court and for it Bell suffered the penalty of imprisonment. Meucci died in 1889, and Bell’s patent expired in 1893. The case was suspended on the grounds of doubt, without ever determining who the real inventor of the telephone presented in Bell’s patent was. Actually, if Meucci had been able to pay the fee of $10 to maintain the “reserve” on his invention, the laW would have been unable to assign Bell any such patent.

(Note: $10 back in those days was a lot of money)

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