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Invention of the telegraph and the telephone.

The telegraph was invented in 1837 by Samuel Morse although the first line was not strung until 1843 between Washington and Baltimore, forty miles. It wasn't until May 24, 1844 that the famous message "What hath God wrought?" was sent over that line using Morse Code and printed out in raised dots and dashes on a paper tape.

In Canada the first major telegraph company was the Montreal Telegraph Company established in January 1847, with Hugh Allan as a key person. Its first lines were between Montreal and Quebec City and Toronto. It quickly grew to 30,000 miles by 1880 but, in 1881 it was amalgamated with Great North West under that name following financial difficulties.

Dominion Telegraph Company was organized in 1868 and first operated between Quebec and Detroit as a competitor to Montreal Telegraph. By 1880 it had 9,000 miles of wire.

The Great North West Telegraph Company of Canada was incorporated in 1880 to serve Western Canada with lines in the North West Territories, the District of Keewatin, and the Provinces of Manitoba and British Columbia as well as connecting to the Province of Ontario. Completion of the CPR saw an end to its monopoly and eventually it was taken over in 1915 by Canadian Northern with its own extensive telegraph system following financial troubles.

The telephone was invented July 26, 1874 by Alexander Graham Bell in Brantford, Ontario which calls itself The Telephone City. The Bell homestead a National Historic site on the outskirts of Brantford remains a small tourist attraction.

Bell Canada itself tells a slightly different story. Not easy to follow everything on their site.
At bottom of first page, Click on the orange square at the end of
See our history animated through the years, and then click on the first little orange square upper left. Click Next event at bottom of new window. Return to timeline upper right.

The first long distance telephone call was made by Bell on August 10, 1876 from Brantford to nearby Paris, Ontario over the line of the Dominion Telegraph Company.

Boston, Massachusetts in the United States of America has long claimed Bell invented the telephone there likely based upon the fact he was granted a Letters Patent on March 7, 1876 which showed him as being "of Salem, Massachusetts." In fact, Bell himself many years later assured doubters that the telephone was conceived in Brantford. "Under yon roof of mine, the telephone was born." In spite of this some US on line sources fail to even mention the Canadian connection. Not surprising.

Like many other inventions, this one by Bell is disputed, by some who claim it was first invented by Elisha Gray who filed for Letters Patent later the same day as Bell based on an earlier filing made by Gray. Also, in 1871 it was claimed by an Italian immigrant to the US, Antonio Meucci. Bell spent 18 years in court defending his invention.

Often, it is the person who made the invention practical who is noted as the inventor while someone else may have invented or discovered something years before but, for one reason or another could not bring it to the market.

o On July 10, 1877, home telephones went on sale for public use in Canada. Only 40 Torontonians were willing to pay $50 a year for a phone line.

o The Blake Wall Magneto telephone, invented by Francis Blake in 1878, was the first standard phone used in turn-of-the-century Ontario communities.

o In 1878, the first telephone exchange in the British Empire was established in Hamilton, Ontario.

o July 10, 1962, the home phone's 85th anniversary was marked at Toronto's Bell Telephone office. Forty telephone operators were hard at work connecting lines for the city's 850,000 subscribers. By then the cost of phone had risen to XXXXXXXXX


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