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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Ring-ring! for 129 years today

Today is the 129th anniversary of this event:

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson had a breakthrough. The men were in separate rooms in the house where they had been working on a remote communication device. Bell spilled battery acid on his pants and said into the device, "Mr. Watson, come here. I want you." Watson, listening to the receiving device, heard Bell's words and rushed down the hall. This event marked the birth of the telephone.

In 1920 Watson envisioned telephone conversations across the Atlantic Ocean as "only the beginning of modern development in this method of communication." Six years later he predicted that in the future "man will speak to man by mental telepathy."

American innovation isn't always celebrated as loudly as it should be. It's hard to imagine the world before that day's occurrence -- without the ubiquitous device we now mostly refer to as our "cell." Hard to imagine a world without computers, rockets, electricity -- yet that's the world in which these two men revolutionized the world.

So happy anniversary, Bell and Watson! We plan to keep talking.