Antonio Meucci is an Italian inventor who is infamous for developing a voice communication apparatus. The majority of the sources claim that it is the first telephone. There is some controversy regarding who invented the telephone at first. Was it Antonio Meucci? or Was it Alexina Graham Bell.
Through this article, we will clear this dilemma. We will also discuss the major contribution of Antonio in the field of science and inventions. Without further ado, let’s start with some quick facts;
Quick Facts of Antonio Meucci
Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci
April 13, 1808
Age of Death
81 years old
1889, October 18
Florence, First French Empire
Hygrometer, Pipe Telephone, Destructive ammunition for guns and cannons
Florence Academy of Fine Arts
Antonio Meucci Childhood, Family, Nationality
As this inventor was born in San Frediano, Florence, First French Empire (currently the Italian Republic, he is an Italian. Antonio was born in the year 1808 on April 13. He was the first sone of Amatis Meucci and Domenica Pepi.
Not to mention his father was a government clerk and a member of the local police whole his mother was a housemaker. As a matter of fact, Antonio spent his childhood happily with eight siblings; however, four of his siblings could not make it to life.
Education and Employment
When Meucci was 13 years old, he enrolled in the Florence Academy of Fine Arts in November 1821. During that time, he acknowledged himself about chemical and mechanical engineering. Despite this, he decided to leave his studies for two consecutive years as he lacked adequate finance.
In addition to this, Antonio was not the one to stay ideal and eventually joined a job as an assistant gatekeeper and customs official for the Florentine government. Due to this, he made some money here and there and was able to support his study. Suddenly in May 1825, Antonio conceived a propellant mixture of flares on the ceremony for the childbirth of Marie Anna of Saxony, wife of Leopold II, Grand Duke of Tuscany.
The fire was so powerful that it created huge damages and injuries which were out of control. Later this man became suspect of conspiracy against the Grand Duchy and was arrested. After this, he got employed at the Teatro Della Pergola as a stage technician helping Artemio Anovetti.
Antonio Meucci Wife and Children
It is reported that this Italian inventor walked down the aisle with costume designer Esterre Mochi. They fell in love with each other while working in the same theatre. In the year 1835, October both of them emigrated to Cuba and later to Spanish province. There he received a job in Teatro Tacon in Havana.
Moving on, he also manufactured a system to purify water and reconstructed Gran Teatro until 1848, when his contract got expired. Next, a friend’s doctor asked him to work on Franz Anton Mesmer’s therapy system on the patients who were victims of rheumatism. Similarly, he discovered a famous method of using electric shocks to treat illness in 1849. He named that device telegrafo parlante, i.e., talking telegraph.
Invention of Telephone
There is controversy on whether Graham Bell was the first one to invent the telephone or Antonio Meucci. Well, they were not the only ones who were working on similar technologies. Elisha Gray was also working on this technology. However, Graham raced to the patent office to be the first to secure the rights of discovery.
In 1876, March 7, he was granted his telephone patent. Few days after that, he made the first call to Watson, saying the now-famous phrase, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.” Not to mention Antonio created several prototypes of a telephone. To be precise, the source claims that there were 30 of them.
The idea was coined to him from the concept of the telegraph. Unlike other telephone pioneers, such as Innocenzo Manzetti, Philipp Reis, Charles Bourseul, he did not think of transmitting the voice. Sources suggest that in the year 1856, he invented the first electromagnetic telephone, which consisted of the nucleus in the shape of a horseshoe bat, a diaphragm of animal skin, stiffened with potassium dichromate, and placed a metal disc in the middle.
Meucci made this device connect his second-floor bedroom to his basement lab to chat with his wife, who was ill during that time. Apart from this, he is also responsible for constructing a pipe telephone on a ship that is still in use.
Antonio Meucci Museum
There is a museum named Federazione Italiana di Elettrotecnica who is devoted to this greatest inventor. The museum consists of Meucci’s prototype of the telephone in a chronology that suggests the two trials’ history opposing Bell and Meucci. They genuinely believe that the actual inventor of the telephone is none other than Antonio.
Despite all this, foreigners do recognize Meucci and deny that he had any bearing on the telephone’s development. In one report, Tomas Farley wrote that.
“Nearly every scholar agrees that Bell and Watson were the first to transmit intelligible speech by electrical means. Others transmitted a sound or a click or a buzz, but our boys [Bell and Watson] were the first to transmit speech one could understand.”
Besides this, Garibaldi Meucci Museum, previously known as Garibaldi Memorial, located in Rosebank, Staten Island, New York, represents the lives of both Antonio Meucci and Giuseppe Garibaldi. This place was the home of Italian inventor and Garibaldi.
Currently, the museum is taken care of by the National Order Sons of Italy Foundation and administered by the New York Grand Lodge Order Sons of Italy in America. Not to mention, the site made it to the list of the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
The telephone is not the only device that Antonio invented. Several other marvelous inventions contributed a lot to the present world. In the year of 1848, this man created a marine telescope worth $280 for Astronomical observations, and later in 1949, he discovered a chemical process to preserve corpses.
Similarly, in the same year, he first invented an electrical transmission of speech. Not to mention he also established a stearic candle factory in Clifton, NY, in 1950. In 1958, he discovered a paraffin candle, and later in 1960; he found a candle factory. Even more, he is also the one who invented a process to convert red corals into pink.
It is the most valued item that he made at the request of a merchant Enrico Bendelari. As a matter of fact, he also did experiments on the use of dry batteries in electrical traction. Antonio received a US Patent No.36,192 on a kerosene lamp that produces bright blame without smoke.
In 1864 Antonio discovered a process to make paper pulp from wood, vegetable substances which made the production of paper pretty easier. Eventually, in 1867 a paper factory named the Perth Amboy Fiber Co. was put up in Perth Amboy. During that time, the paper pulp was made out of grass or wood. It is also regarded as the first recycled waste paper.
Moreover, Meucci also made a filter for tea and coffee, which is still in use. In 1875, he made a Lactometer to detect adulterations of milk. In 1880, he made postage and revenue stamps and a method to stop noise on railways. Along with his friend Angelo Bertolino, they went to Edward B. Grant, Vice President of American District Telegraph Co. of New York.
There, he asked for his permission to run a few tests with his apparatus on the company’s telegraph lines. After a couple of years, Grant told, all of his documents were lost. After this, in 1873, Bill Carroll asked him to make a telephone for divers. In Antonio’s drawing, this device happens to be an electromagnetic telephone made to be waterproof.
Antonio Meucci Death and Legacy
Antonio was a fantastic inventor who dedicated his life to invention and science. Sadly he did not succeed in getting fame and recognition for his telephone invention in his lifetime. However, he undoubtedly receives five other patents such as effervescent drinks, a hygrometer, to name a few.
Unfortunately, Antonio died at the age of 81 on October 18 in 1889, on Staten Island, New York. A memorial was held in the front yard of his house in 1923. After his demise, two books on Antonio were published in Italy. Surprisingly a square in Brooklyn was named after him in 1990.
Social Media Presence
Antonio is not available on any social media platforms.