Detail map of Manhattan, New York, New York, United States,San Francisco, California, United States,Washington, District of Columbia, United States,Jekyll Island, Georgia, United States

A: Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, B: San Francisco, California, United States, C: Washington, District of Columbia, United States, D: Jekyll Island, Georgia, United States

Alexander Graham Bell Makes the First Transcontinental Telephone Call to Thomas Watson

Alexander Graham Bell, about to call San Francisco from New York.
Alexander Graham Bell, about to call San Francisco from New York in the first transcontinental telephone call. Signed signed by Alexander Graham Bell beneath the photo.

"Left to Right: U.N. Bethell, Senior Vice-President Amercian Telephone & Telegraph Co., presiding; Hon. George McAneny, President Board of Alderman, New York City; John J. Carty, Chief Engineer, American Telephone & Telegraph Co.; Alexander Graham BellJohn Purroy Mitchel, Mayor of New York; C.E. Yost, President of Nebraska Telephone Co., Omaha; Hon. William A. Prendergast, Comptroller of the City of New York

"In front of Dr. Bell is the replica of his original telephone. In front of Mr. Bethell is the glass case containing a piece of the wire over which Dr. Bell and Mr. Watson carried on the first telephone conversation in the world."

On January 25, 1915 the AT&T long-distance telegraph network, the development of which began in 1885, finally reached from New York to San Francisco, allowing Alexander Graham Bell in New York and Thomas Watson in San Francisco to participate in the first transcontinental telephone call. Photo by Irving Underhill.

"Four locations participated in the first call. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone and co-founder of AT&T, led a group of dignitaries in New York. His one-time assistant Thomas Watson, led a group in San Francisco. AT&T President Theodore Vail [cousin of telegraphy inventor Alfred Vail] spoke from Jekyll Island, Ga. And U.S. President Woodrow Wilson spoke from the White House.  

At one point during the call, someone asked Professor Bell if he would repeat the first words he ever said over the telephone. He obliged, picking up the phone and repeating 'Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.' To which Watson, in San Francisco, replied, 'It would take me a week now.' "(, accessed 01-24-2010).

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