“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Cambridge in Middlesex County, Massachusetts — The American Northeast (New England)

First Long-Distance Phone Call

First Long-Distance Phone Call Marker image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 19, 2011
1. First Long-Distance Phone Call Marker
From this site
on October 9, 1876
the first two-way long distance
telephone conversation was carried
on for three hours. From here in
Cambridgeport Thomas G. Watson
spoke over a telegraph wire to
Alexander Graham Bell
at the office of the Walworth Mfg. Co.
69 Kilby Street, Boston Mass.
— | —

This plaque
Presented to the City of Cambridge
by the
North Council
Thomas Sherwin Chapter
Telephone Pioneers of America
November 1, 1961

Location. 42° 21.782′ N, 71° 5.716′ W. Marker is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in Middlesex County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Osborne Street, on the right when traveling east on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 710 Main Street, Cambridge MA 02139, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Davenport Car Manufactory (here, next to this marker); Fort Washington (approx. 0.6 miles away); Jake & Earl's Dixie BBQ (approx. ¾ mile away); Putnam School (approx. 0.9 miles away); Spot where the British Landed
View of Building image. Click for full size.
By Roger W. Sinnott, November 19, 2011
2. View of Building
The marker is mounted on the corner of the old Davenport Car Manufactory building, next to the first-floor window.
(approx. one mile away); New Fenway Park (approx. 1.2 miles away); Fenway Park (approx. 1.2 miles away); Ted Williams (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cambridge.
More about this marker. “Thomas G. Watson” in the inscription seems to be a typo for Thomas A. Watson.
Regarding First Long-Distance Phone Call. Coming just seven months after their first transmission of speech over a wire, this “long distance” experiment attracted wide notice. For example, on Nov. 18, 1876, the Arizona Citizen (Tucson, Arizona Territory) reprinted the report of a Boston paper: “Telephones were placed at either end of a telegraph line owned by th[e] Walworth Manufacturing Company, extending from their office in Boston to their factory in Cambridgeport, a distance of about two miles. The company’s battery, consisting of nine Daniels cells, was removed from the circuit and another of ten carbon elements substituted. Articulate conversation then took place through the wire. The sounds, at first faint and indistinct, became suddenly loud and intelligible. Mr. Bell in Boston and Mr.
Alexander Graham Bell image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, August 9, 2015
3. Alexander Graham Bell
This c. 1895 photo of Alexander Graham Bell by an unknown photographer hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.

“Inventor Alexander Graham Bell sparked a communications revolution when he patented the telephone in 1876. But Bell considered his work with the deaf to be his true calling. Born to a deaf mother and a father renowned for his work in enunciation, Bell adapted his father's work — a visual, symbolic alphabet for use in producing spoken sounds — for use in teaching speech to the deaf. He opened a teacher training school and became a leader in the education of the deaf. Bell's teaching speech to the deaf was not viewed favorably by all; many advocates thought signing was the appropriate language for the hearing-impaired.” — National Portrait Gallery
Watson in Cambridge took notes of what was said and heard, and the comparison of the two records shows that the transmission was almost perfectly accurate. Conversation was carried on for about half an hour, generally in an ordinary tone of voice, but often in whispers. The credit of this important discovery is due to Mr. Bell.”
Also see . . .
1. Alexander Graham Bell - Wikipedia entry. (Submitted on November 22, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.)
2. Wikipedia entry for Long-Distance Calling. “On October 9, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas A. Watson talked by telephone to each other over a two-mile (3 km) wire stretched between Cambridge and Boston. It was the first wire conversation ever held. Yesterday afternoon the same two men talked by telephone to each other over a 3,400-mile (5,500 km) wire between New York and San Francisco. Dr. Bell, the veteran inventor of the telephone, was in New York, and Mr. Watson, his former associate, was on the other side of the continent. They heard each other much more distinctly than they did in their first talk thirty-eight years ago.” Quoted from the New York Times January 26, 1915. (Submitted on September 20, 2015.) 
Categories. CommunicationsScience & Medicine
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 22, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts. This page has been viewed 1,500 times since then and 60 times this year. This page was the Marker of the Week October 4, 2015. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on November 22, 2011, by Roger W. Sinnott of Chelmsford, Massachusetts.   3. submitted on October 28, 2015, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
Paid Advertisement