Thomas Edison called this phone call impossible, but he held

Thomas Edison was a great inventor and a terrible forecaster. Of course, none of us can see into the future, regardless of the degree of development of intelligence, but one bad forecast Edison failed to refute even during his lifetime. In 1984, Thomas Edison said that transatlantic phone call is impossible, and were wrong. The first call across the Atlantic took place 30 years later after his statement.

28 Oct 1894 in Texas newspaper Galveston Daly News published an interview with Edison, in which he explained why people on different sides of the Atlantic will not be able to talk to each other on the phone:

I don’t think we can call the Atlantic. It will be impossible for the electrification of the gutta-percha covering of the cable. Every substance will electrify, so the problem cannot be solved by replacement of currently used materials. For example, tons of gutta-percha play an important role in the cable between Valencia and the island of HART. Each part needs to be electrified before a signal will be sent. After the current is switched off in Valencia, it would go to the island of the HART for quite some time. All this prevents sound waves. Even with the Telegraph there is no real gap between threads, there are only 10 to 12 of sound waves per second. In the case of telephony would be 2 or 3 thousand at a time. The only way to overcome this is to use another power, which will not affect the materials.

7 January 1927 and hosted the first TRANS-Atlantic telephone conversation between London and new York. Quality was not the best, but the conversation took place. This was possible thanks to radio waves and not with a cable across the Atlantic. Communicate President of AT&T V. S. Giffard and the head of the British Mail Evelyn P. Murray. Giffard began the call with the following words:

Today we can observe the result of years of research and experiments. We are opening the phone the way for negotiations between new York and London. The people of these great cities will be able to share opinions and facts at a distance as though they were each other face to face. No one can predict the actual value of this latest scientific achievements.

Thomas Edison died in 1931, several years after the first transatlantic phone call took place. But there is something I don’t believe you? Tell us in our Telegram chat.

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