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Alexander Graham Bell: Electrical Transmission of Articulate Speech, 1912

Best of Philly

Prior to perfecting the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell invented and demonstrated the harmonic telegraph at the Centennial Exposition of 1876, held in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. This Exposition was attended by Dom Pedro II, then Emperor of Brazil. Bell's principle rival, Elisha Gray, also presented an invention at this Exposition. Bell's device was the last to be reviewed by the Emperor and other distinguished judges. Having rigged up his invention in the East Gallery, Bell took up his stance on one end of the room while the Emperor bent over a receiver positioned at the opposite end. Bell sang into his receiver, and then began reciting Hamlet's well-known "To be, or not to be" monologue. "Aye, there's the rub," he said into one receiver, while the Emperor excitedly repeated the Shakespearean verses he heard on the other side of the room.