The Farmer and the first telephoneIn 1884, eight years after Alexander Graham Bell received his patent for a device to transmit sound over electrical wires, a California newspaper wrote of a farmer approaching the strange instrument for the first time. Entering the telephone office, he scribbled a few words on a piece of paper, rolled the paper up and stuffed it into the transmitter, forcing it home with a pencil. That broke the vibrating palte. Then the man sat down to await an answer. Receiving none, he tried again. This time he thrust his message into the handset,doing yet more damage. Half an hour of silence later, he left in disgust. A secretary took the phone apart. Inside was the farmers message: An order to a store for a monkey wrench.
Peter McGrath in Newsweek, June 6, 1994
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