U.S. President Donald Trump celebrated the 4th of July by highlighting the achievements of famous American inventors.
Like Thomas Edison, the Wright Brothers… and Alexander Graham Bell.
Yes, Trump counted the invention of the telephone among American achievements like the lightbulb and the airplane.
“Our quest for greatness unleashed a culture of discovery that led Thomas Edison to imagine his lightbulb, Alexander Graham Bell to create the telephone, the Wright Brothers to look to the sky and see the next great frontier,” Trump said in his Independence Day speech in front of the Lincoln Memorial on Thursday.
“For Americans, nothing is impossible.”
An examination of Bell’s life confirms that he was, indeed, an American citizen — but not when the phone was invented.
Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland and moved with his family to Brantford, Ont. in August 1870, as recounted by Historica Canada.
He would begin teaching at a school for the deaf in Boston the following year, but continued to spend his summers in Brantford.
In 1874, he had commenced work toward a multiple telegraph that could send numerous messages across a wire at the same time, according to the Library of Congress.
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Around this time, he and electrician Thomas Watson also started working toward an instrument that could transfer speech.
That work was inspired by a visit to Brantford, where Bell watched the currents in the Grand River and wondered whether he could transmit sound by controlling a current’s intensity.
He drew a model of the telephone and the pair set to work.
They made real progress in June 1875. While working on a multiple telegraph, they managed to reproduce a sound, having shown that different tones could adjust an electric current’s strength in a wire, Historica Canada wrote.
Bell would be granted a U.S. patent for the telephone on March 7, 1876.
Three days later, Bell spoke into the world’s first telephone, saying, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
The Bell Telephone Company would be born on July 9, 1877, and two days later, Bell would marry Mabel Gardiner Hubbard.
He became a naturalized American citizen in 1882.
Bell would later spend summers with his family at an estate known as Beinn Bhreagh close to Baddeck on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
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He died in 1922, and was buried at Baddeck.
So how much can people call the telephone an American invention?
The device was created by a visionary who split his time between Canada and the U.S. He was inspired by a Canadian river, but the patent was filed in the U.S., six years before he became an American.
Seems this one can be split between the two.
However, Trump also apparently made a reading error that raised eyebrows on Thursday.
While praising the Army, he said forces “took over the airports” during the American Revolution – in 1775.
“Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do,” he said.
“And at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant.”