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How I do hate to critique such an interestingly written and informative piece. Especially when I am going to ignore the post's well constructed topic and focus on a few numbers and a sentence fragment. But given the anonymity of the Internet and my own tendency to give advice to random strangers, here goes:
Several typo's on the dates seem to have sneaked in: I am sure Meucci did not immigrate in 1950, nor did his investors form a company in 1971. And saying that Bell's straw - connected - to - an - eardrum was "pretty much like a modern seismograph" is a bit off. If he was moving the smoked plate while speaking into the ear he might have gotten a trace that looked like what comes from a seismograph, but in a seismograph the needle is connected to an inertial mass that stays still while the earth moves underneath it. So, as I see it, the similarity is just in having a long lever to amplify and record the vibrations. Recording air pressure changes is not the same as recording waves in solid bodies.

I rarely complain when readers correct typos ( yes, those dates should have an "18-" prefix) and misleading phrases, since that's one of the reasons I have a blog in the first place... to try out analogies and such for various concepts. Although I do think the average lay person simply wouldn't understand the distinction Verisimilitude draws -- it was the tracing, in response to vibrations, that resembled seismographs, at least in terms of a visual concept. Still, throughness! It's necessary!

Your wonderful history of Meucci did not mention the reason why he can never be considered innocent of Italian bias: HE FOUNDED ITALY. His co-worker at the candle factory in Staten Island did most of the work and deserves most of the credit. On Thompson Street Staten Island is the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum.
Remember that the boot-shape peninsula jutting into the Mediteranen consisted of many historic city-states and provinces, and Sicily was founded and considered Greek. The liberation movement and war against the Papal States was headed by candle-maker Garibaldi.
The full story can be seen on Google. Type Garibaldi candle Staten and several citations mentioning Meucci in whose house Garibaldi lived and worked will appear. Type Garibaldi Italy and 10,000 citations will appear.

History does repeat, rime and is a bunch of coincidences too.
Minor correction: Your 5th paragraph reads 1950. It should be 1850.

Your beautifully-written telephone memo mentioned that Antonio Meucci might be slightly pro-Italian biased. Well, he's entitled! HE FOUNDED ITALY.

The boot-shaped peninsula, historically, consisted of city-states and feudal territories until 1860-63. In a house/factory in Staten Island NY candle-maker Meucci took in Guiseppi Garibaldi and they cooked up more than tallow. Garibaldi had been involved in liberation movements in Brazil and Equador. He was charisimatic and had gained the rank of General fighting in South America.

While the candles were cooking, the invasion of Sicily and the peninsula was plotted. General Garibaldi was in Meucci's house for three years. AFter going to Europe, in Sicily he had to fight Bourbons and Austrians, but won. The Papal States eagerly threw off the laws and taxes of the Popes. Finally there was a new nation: Italy.

The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum is located on Thompson Street, Staten Island. In New Jersey there are lessons in the lower grades about the telephone. So if you ask a little kid in Newark. or even in a non-Italian neighborhood: "Who discovered the phone?" he tell you: "It f___ing wasn't Bell!"

The rest is history. or so it was until 1970:
New York City was improving Washington Park. Under the old statue of Garibaldi a time capsule was discovered. It told forgotten details of the old days in the candle factory owned by Meucci.

The 'world' is reeling? - whose world?
after the assasination of Benazir who?

No, not that I'm not aware of world events and the history of the Bhutto family. "Democracy is the best Revenge" I've heard her nineteen year old son rage, but her nineteen year old Oxford studying son being nominated/selected the co-chairman of 'her' party, smacks of anything but democratic.

Neither Bhutto family nor the affairs of Pakistan are significant enough to rock my world, or send the world reeling (poetic licence?) and I find her assasination no more significant than any other 'political' assasination or death.

It must be a sad world, when the assasination is the only noteworthy story to grab the news.

Life is certainly not 'fair' or just, but it is relative. The death or assasination of a political figure is often seen thru different eyes, depending on what side of the political divide you are. I guess many who are now 'wailing' would cheer if President Musharaf were assasinated.

It's a sad world when the death of an insignificant person like Anna Nicole Smith is the only noteworthy story to grab the news. The assassination of a major political figure in a region known for violence, rioting, etc. IS newsworthy, regardless of which side of the political divide one happens to fall. It's sad to live in the kind of world where ANY suicide bombings and assassinations take place, regardless of the target. And unlike Quasar9, I'm not ashamed to admit I care.

Wow, so the story of the telephone is even more complicated than that of radio (where Tesla almost certainly invented it first but Marconi was the first to exploit it commercially).

lol Jennifer,
I shan't pretend to care or give a hoot about the Bhutto dynasty and the 'affairs' of Pakistan.
However despite our clear differences on many other 'matters', I should still like to wish you and Sean a great evening and may the incoming year bring you much joy & fun, and lots & lots of Sun.

Didn't Edison also have a telephone under development when Bell filed?

Looks like that's just another in the long history of "who didn't invent X". While Tesla devotees sometimes ascribe to him more things than he did invent, wireless telephony is one thing he did. Marconi's patents were invalidated in 1943. But independent invention is not uncommon, especially during a time when science and technology are taking off like a JATO-powered Mini Cooper.

Then there's Edison, the great engineer. Where Edison would go through 3000 experiments to find out what makes a good light bulb filament ("OK, so now I know 3000 things that don't work"), Tesla would build a machine in his mind, down to the least detail, and test it there, working out the bugs. When he finally built it, it worked the first time.

It's probably just academic to wonder who really deserves the credit for being the "first". They all played a part. The real giants are the people who invented the paper clip, the thumb tack, and little yellow stickies.

Meucci advocates supporting his claim of priority in the invention of the telephone frequently throw out the fact that he couldn't raise the $250 necessary to patent his 'teletrofono' (electric telephone), so Meucci subsequently only took out $10 'patent caveats' on it in Decembers of 1871, 1872 and 1873 instead. Both Meucci and his supporters claimed his poverty was the reason he could not patent an electrical telephone (the type used since Bell's was patented).

'Poverty'?? Meucci was running multiple businesses from the 1860s until well past Bell received his telephone patent, with investors to provide him with funds to suit. Since Meucci had filed and received a number of patents prior to 1871, and **FILED FOR AND RECEIVED FOUR MORE PATENTS BETWEEN 1872 AND 1876** (the year Bell received his patent), there is no conceivable validity in Meucci being 'too impoverished' to afford the **$15** it cost to file for a **full patent application** (not a patent caveat). From 1861 to 1922, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office charged $15, not $250, to file for a full patent application, with another $20 payment required once the patent had been awarded -which Meucci would likely have had no problem raising from his numerous investors HAD HE REALLY INVENTED AN ELECTRICAL TELEPHONE THAT WORKED, not the electrified mechanical telephone described by Judge Wallace in "American Bell Telephone Co. v. Globe Telephone Co. and others" (31 Federal Reporter 728-735). Judge Wallace wrote in his judicial ruling that Meucci's actions and conduct in filing for his patent caveat amounted to a scheme to defraud investors (three fellow Italians had formed a company to invest in Meucci's 'teletrofono' and raised $20 for him the month prior to enable his filing for a patent -the sum of which Meucci spent only $10 on the patent caveat in 1871).

So Meucci, who filed for and received numerous patents before and even one more after Bell was awarded his telephone patent in 1876, who operated numerous businesses before and after Bell's patents, who was able to obtain pro bono legal services from Italian friends and associates, and who could have called on other connected investors he had dealt with previously, was extremely unlikely to have been "too poor" to afford the $250 (actually $15, plus $20 upon a patent award) needed to patent his 'teletrofono'.

Credibility is strained and broken after a close examination of facts is conducted to Meucci's financial and business affairs in the years leading up to Bell's patent award of 1876. The most reasonable conclusion (per Ockham's Razor) an unbiased observer can come up with when Meucci's false poverty is discounted, is that **HE HAD NOT INVENTED A FUNCTIONAL ELECTRIC TELEPHONE THAT COULD BE PATENTED**, therefore Meucci would have been wasting the extra funds he had raised in 1871 had he filed for a full patent application that would have been immediately tossed out by the U.S.P.T.O.

By 1874 Meucci's three initial investors had either returned to Italy or likely written off their investments, so he may have felt safe in not renewing his patent caveat on his teletrofono after that time. Meucci advocates, including Italian-American historian Giovanni Schiavo, and former Italian-American congressman Vito Fossella, a man with a real dubious history, should check and confirm their facts before presenting error-filled descriptions and resolutions of Meucci's supposed affairs.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

The full legal ruling by Judge Wallace (Bell vs. Glove) can be read online here:

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