Tag Archives: Alexander Graham Bell

What were the first words spoken on the telephone?

19 Feb

I am going through a bit of an ABBA phase at the moment. And as I’ve been clocking up the kilometres for work of late, I’ve had plenty of time to play my way through their various greatest hits collections.

One of my favourite tracks is Ring, Ring, and as I let my mind roam free while listening to it today, I wondered idly about the first words ever said over a telephone line. I imagined they might have had some gravitas, along the lines of ‘one small step for man…’. But I was wrong.

They were actually much more mundane, and went like this: “Mr Watson, come here. I want to see you.” Pretty exciting stuff, no?

Anyway, the date was March 10, 1876, and the call was placed by inventor Alexander Graham Bell to his assistant, Thomas A Watson, who was standing in the next room. But considering how lost we would all be without his invention, I think we can forgive Bell for his lack of verbal creativity.

BTW, did you know he also invented the first crude metal detector in 1811? He did it to try and find the fatal bullet after American President James Garfield was shot by an assassin. But sadly, he failed.