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Sep 24, Jen rated it really liked it. Great historical fiction book written by 80 year old author from neighboring town with details gathered from years of stories from friends and family. Admirable to be writing your first book at that age.

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Trivia About The Reluctant Pat No trivia or quizzes yet. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. On reading this, many Italians like myself had just one thought - that this was the voice of a thief.

We know that Bell did not invent the telephone, but stole the idea without acknowledgement from Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci. Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in , and moved to Canada in He died in the US in as a highly respected millionaire scientist entrepreneur.

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He was indeed a gifted technician but had a nasty side to his personality. He presided for many years over the Eugenics Society, which proposed - and, in several cases, achieved - the forced sterilisation of individuals it considered inferior.


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  • Early career;
  • The real inventor of the telephone - which he called "electrophone" - was Meucci, who was born in Florence in and died impoverished in New York in the closing years of the 19th century. Meucci begun testing primitive telephones while working in Florence as a theatre technician. Later, for political reasons, he and his wife were arrested and expelled by the Tuscan State. They moved first to Cuba and then to the US.

    Having fallen on hard times - his savings disappeared with fraudulent debtors - he spent what little money remained left pursuing his dream of voice communication across vast distances. Meucci was aboard the Staten Island Ferry in when a boiler exploded killing passengers and injuring hundreds more.

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    Not yet resigned to his bad luck, Meucci took his notebooks with all his experiments and a new prototype of telephone to Western Union telegraph company, but their executives friends and colleagues of Bell failed to meet him and later claimed to have lost the items he had given them. Two years later Bell filed a patent and set up a company with Western Union. Meucci sued, and the court case drew considerable public sympathy for the poor Italian immigrant who could barely speak English.

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    But the judge ruled in favour of Bell, perhaps because he, as a skilled businessman and man of means that he was, had in the meantime set a company with branches around the world. Meucci died without being able to appeal.

    Giuseppe Verdi

    In , a new ruling by the US House of Representatives declared the ruling invalid. The US Congress found that Meucci had indeed tested a telephone in and that Bell had had access to his material. This was not a case of two gifted inventors reaching the same conclusion at the same time, as often happens, but a clear cut case of fraud and misrepresentation.

    Alexander Graham Bell became a wealthy man with his invention but failed to extend a helping hand to its less fortunate inventor, who was an immigrant like himself. This should not surprise us because Bell showed himself to be a man who strongly believed in the survival of the fittest and, of course, the smartest.

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    Angelo Paratico is a businessman, novelist and foreign correspondent based in Hong Kong. Skip to main content. The tragic tale of the telephone's real inventor, Antonio Meucci.