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Dr. Bernard Finn

Curator Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution

Dr. Bernard Finn is Curator Emeritus of the Electricity Collections at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. In his article, “Bell and Gray, Just a Coincidence?,” Technology and Culture, Vol. 50, No. 1, January 2009, pp. 193-201, Dr. Finn dispels the suggestion by some writers that Alexander Graham Bell is not the true inventor of the telephone. He points out that many of these commentators fail to recognize that the liquid transmitter device at the center of the Bell-Gray controversy was not commercially practicable, and—importantly—not the telephone. Still, Dr. Finn encourages those interested in this fascinating chapter of American inventive history to read the works of other authors in forming their own conclusions on this issue.

Some of the works that Dr. Finn cites are: “Elisha Gray and the Telephone: On the Disadvantages of Being an Expert” by David Hounshell; The Telephone Gambit by Seth Shulman; The Telephone Patent Conspiracy of 1876 by A. Edward Evenson; The Gray Matter: The Forgotten Story of the Telephone by Burton Baker; and Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention by Charlotte Gray.


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