Seven words changed communication forever – “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.”

Alexander Graham Bell uttered these words 140 years ago today, during the first phone call to ever happen. Bell made the call in 1876 to his assistant Thomas Watson, who was standing in a nearby room.

The competition to perfect the first phone was fierce at the time. Bell, a professor at Boston University, had narrowly beaten Elisha Grey to obtain a patent only three days before that call was made?. Those seven words changed the course of human history forever. Here are a few things you may, or may not, know about Bell’s quest for innovation:

  • Urban Myth: Thomas Watson loved the drama of theater, so much so he created an embellishment about the purpose of the first phone call. Watson circulated the rumor that Bell actually called Watson to report an acid spill. His own writings later revealed the embellishment.
  • Major Accomplishments: Within a year of the first call, Bell also successfully completed the first distance phone call from Brantford, Ontario to Paris, Ontario, just six miles away. He also completed a two-way long distance call between Cambridge, MA and Boston, MA.
  • First Regular Phone Line: To connect Bell’s workshop in Somerville, MA to Boston, he established the first phone line in 1877. 

Since the first call, phones have connected world leaders during wartime and even connected the White House to space. If only Bell could have imagined the communication revolution he started.

Below are images and video from the AT&T Achieves. 

Watson's Notebook
Watson's Notebook