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Gower-Bell telephone - Connected Earth artefact, now at Amberley Working Museum Bell & Hubbard

Alexander Graham Bell went to the United States as a teacher, rather than as an inventor. His lectures in teaching the deaf won him many friends - including a Boston attorney Gardiner Green Hubbard.

Hubbard hated the Western Union Telegraph Company, whom he accused of arrogance and bullying. When he learned that Bell had been secretly working on improvements to the telegraph Hubbard immediately offered him financial backing in the hope of outdoing Western Union.

Bell was looking for ways to send several telegraph messages over a single wire at the same time - an urgent need of the telegraph industry. Within two years, Bell understood that his work might lead him to the telephone. Initially Hubbard advised him to concentrate on developing the telegraph, but after a while he grasped the telephone's potential and pushed Bell to develop that instead. So whilst Bell provided the development genius, Hubbard provided support and guidance.

fun and games

Can you beat our games? Explode equipment to see what's inside, hear the changing sounds of telecommunications, see how telecommunications designs have changed over time or send an e-postacard.

what's on

The UK's first permanent gallery dedicated to the history of information and communication technologies opens in the new Information Age gallery at London’s Science Museum.

audio history

Take a trip down memory lane with extracts of the interviews which have been recorded as part of the Connected Earth oral history programme.

featured story

100 years of automatic switching!
In 1912 the GPO installed Britain's first automatic telephone exchange in Epsom.

Discover the early days of the telephone...