Saturday, May 14, 2011
If we were to somehow pull a Bill & Ted and nab Alexander Graham Bell out of the time-space continuum to bring with us back to 2011, he probably wouldn't even recognize that the tiny Apple-stamped devices we were all speaking into were the great, great, great grandchildren of his original telephone.
"But where's the giant cone you yell into?" he'd ask puzzled. "Where... where is the vibrating diaphragm? Or the electromagnet connecting to the armature? What... what's that roaring bird machine overhead?!?"
To which we'd say, "Chill out, bro. Have a slice of pizza." (Assuming we were Keanu Reeves.)
These sketches from the summer of 1876 were made available by the Library of Congress, showing the hand-drawn essentials of Bell's most famous invention. In his own words, they're "the first drawings made of my telephone — or 'instrument for the transmission of vocal utterances by telegraph.'" The heirloom photographs were re-obtained in Australia after they'd left the United States by Bell's grandson and were presented as a gift to the LOC.
Mind you, they're not very good, but when you're a brilliant scientist/inventor/engineer displaced from your current timeline who changed the way humankind fundamentally communicates, it's perfectly OK to not be good at something.