Downtown in Washington, District of Columbia — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
Alexander Graham Bell
was sent on June 3, 1880
over a beam of light to 1325 L Street,
the first wireless telephone message
in the history of the world.
The apparatus used in sending the message
was the photophone invented by
Alexander Graham Bell,
inventor of the telephone
This plaque was placed here by
Alexander Graham Bell Chapter
Telephone Pioneers of America
March 3, 1947
The Centennial of Dr. Bell's Birth
Erected 1947 by Alexander Graham Bell Chapter, Telephone Pioneers of America.
Location. 38° 54.136′ N, 77° 1.765′ W. Marker is in Downtown, District of Columbia, in Washington. Marker is at the intersection of 13th Street NW and K Street NW, on the right when traveling north on 13th Street NW. Click for map. Located on the Franklin School Building, next to Franklin Square. Marker is in this post office area: Washington DC 20005, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Franklin Square - "Going into the country" (here, next to this marker); The Messer Building (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Asbury United Methodist Church (about 600 John Barry Memorial (about 700 feet away); "The First of Patriots - The Best of Men" (about 700 feet away); The Church of the Ascension and St. Agnes (about 800 feet away); Historic New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); New York Avenue Presbyterian Church at Herald Square (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Downtown.
Also see . . . "On the Production and Reproduction of Sound by Light". Presentation describing the photophone given by Dr. Bell to American Association for the Advancement of Science, in Boston, August 27, 1880 (Submitted on April 2, 2009, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.)
1. 1947 Franklin School ceremony
“On March 3, 1947, the centenary of Alexander Graham Bell's birth, the Telephone Pioneers of America dedicated a historical marker on the side of one of the buildings, the Franklin School, which Bell and Sumner Tainter used for their first formal trial involving a considerable distance. Tainter had
— Submitted September 21, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
2. The Photophone
In December 1879, Alexander Graham Bell rented a house at 904 Fourteenth Street and a laboratory at 1325 L Street, N.W., in the Franklin School neighborhood. Here, with his assistant Charles Sumner Tainter, he conducted experiments in his laboratory on the photophone, an invention for transmission of sound by light waves. After his first success on February 19, 1880, he wrote to his father:
“I have heard articulate speech produced by sunlight! I have heard a ray of the sun laugh and cough and sing!...I have been able to hear a shadow, and I have even perceived by ear the passage of a cloud across the sun's disk. Can imagination picture what the future of this invention is to be!...We may talk by light to any visible distance without any conducting wire...In warfare the electric communications of an army could neither be cut nor tapped. On the ocean communication may be carried on...between vessels...and light-houses may be identified by the sound of
— Submitted September 23, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.
Categories. • Science & Medicine •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,584 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. 3, 4. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. 5. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.