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Watson, Thomas Watson, Thomas (1854-1934)

Thomas Watson was Alexander Graham Bell's right-hand man who helped him create the telephone.

Watson grew up in a livery stable, in Salem. He tried out a number of professions before discovering his gift for mechanics and he soon went to work with Bell to develop the multiple telegraph system. Bell was an ideas man but Watson was brilliant with his hands. They went on to build the telephone together and Watson became a founder shareholder in the Bell Telephone Company.

Rich and restless after seven years of telephony, he quit to pave a new life. Farming didn't suit him, so he set up a successful machine shop. Later he built naval vessels in Boston employing over 4000 employees, he studied voice, studied geology and he searched for gold mines. His wanderlust took him into theatre, and he saw out his life performing theatre; Shakespeare; readings and lectures - realising that variety really was the spice of his life. 

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...