- "Watson, come here, I want you" was the first sentence ever spoken over a telephone. On March 10, 1876, in a house in Boston, Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) uttered those historic words. The message carried, and the telephone was born.For those wondering why Bell said something so ordinary on such an auspicious occasion, the reason was that Bell had spilled some acid on himself and needed help from his laboratory assistant, Thomas Watson.Bell was born in Scotland, but became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1871. His interest was in teaching the deaf (both his mother and his wife were deaf). Bell became a professor of vocal physiology at Boston University, where he continued his work on telephonic communication. He founded Science, the official publication of the Association for the Advancement of Science, was president of the National Geographic Society, and a regent of the Smithsonian Institution. The decibel, one-tenth of a bel (bel is a clipped version of the inventor's name), is the least audible sound to the human ear. For the technically minded, decibel is a unit used to compare two power levels on a logarithmic scale. People hear from 0 to 130 decibels. Above that figure, sound becomes painful to the ear. Most conversations take place at about 60 decibels.As with some other momentous inventions, the question arose: Who was the first to invent the telephone? There were a number of claimants, but after a decade of litigation, Bell emerged the victor and helped organize the giant American Telephone and Telegraph Company, popularly known as AT&T.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.