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Antonio Meucci Centre


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The U.S. and Canadian Resolutions

As presented and passed by each Government

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Congressman Vito Fossella

 

Text of House Resolution 269 Honoring the Achievements of Antonio Meucci

The following resolution was passed on June 11, 2002 in the U.S. House of Representatives:

 

HRES 269 IH
107th CONGRESS
1st Session

 

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Mr. FOSSELLA submitted the following resolution:

 

RESOLUTION

 

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives to honor the life and achievements of 19th Century Italian-American inventor Antonio Meucci, and his work in the invention of the telephone.

 

Whereas Antonio Meucci, the great Italian inventor, had a career that was both extraordinary and tragic;

 

Whereas, upon immigrating to New York, Meucci continued to work with ceaseless vigor on a project he had begun in Havana, Cuba, an invention he later called the teletrofono, involving electronic communications;

 

Whereas Meucci set up a rudimentary communications link in his Staten Island home that connected the basement with the first floor, and later, when his wife began to suffer from crippling arthritis, he created a permanent link between his lab and his wifes second floor bedroom;

 

Whereas, having exhausted most of his lifes savings in pursuing his work, Meucci was unable to commercialize his invention, though he demonstrated his invention in 1860 and had a description of it published in New Yorks Italian language newspaper;

 

Whereas Meucci never learned English well enough to navigate the complex American business community;

 

Whereas Meucci was unable to raise sufficient funds to pay his way through the patent application process, and thus had to settle for a caveat, a one-year renewable notice of an impending patent, which was first filed on December 28, 1871;

 

Whereas Meucci later learned that the Western Union affiliate laboratory reportedly lost his working models, and Meucci , who at this point was living on public assistance, was unable to renew the caveat after 1874;

 

Whereas in March 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, who conducted experiments in the same laboratory where Meuccis materials had been stored, was granted a patent and was thereafter credited with inventing the telephone;

 

Whereas on January 13, 1887, the Government of the United States moved to annul the patent issued to Bell on the grounds of fraud and misrepresentation, a case that the Supreme Court found viable and remanded for trial;

 

Whereas Meucci died in October 1889, the Bell patent expired in January 1893, and the case was discontinued as moot without ever reaching the underlying issue of the true inventor of the telephone entitled to the patent; and

 

Whereas if Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell:

 

Now, therefore, be it

 

Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that the life and achievements of Antonio Meucci should be recognized, and his work in the invention of the telephone should be acknowledged.

 

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Hon. Sheila Copps M.P.

 Transcripts of the debate around the resolution that passed in the House of Commons on June 21st, 2002

 

     

 

    Mr. Bob Speller (Haldimand Norfolk Brant, Lib.):  

Mr. Speaker,

my question is for the Minister of Canadian Heritage.

 

    The minister must be aware now of the silly goings on in the United States capital where the U.S. house of representatives passed a motion claiming that somebody other than Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone.

 

    I am wondering if the minister will take the time to inform the U.S. Congress that indeed yes, Virginia, Alexander Graham Bell did invent the telephone.


    Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker,
this is one planted question that will bear fruit.

 

    The member for Haldimand--Norfolk--Brant has raised a very important point. It has also been raised by my colleague from Brantford and by members on all sides of the House.

 

    I am very pleased to report that right after question period I hope we will be able to table a unanimous resolution of all members of the House recognizing the fact that the real inventor of the telephone was indeed Alexander Graham Bell.

 

*   *   *
Alexander Graham Bell

 

    Hon. Sheila Copps (Minister of Canadian Heritage, Lib.):

Mr. Speaker,

I would like to ask the House for unanimous consent on the following motion,
which has been discussed with all parties, regarding Alexander Graham Bell.

 

I move:

      This House affirms that Alexander Graham Bell of Brantford, Ontario and
Baddeck, Nova Scotia is the inventor of the telephone.

 

 

    The Speaker:

Does the hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage have the unanimous consent of the House to propose this motion?

 

    Some hon. members: Agreed.

 

    The Speaker:

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

 

    Some hon. members: Agreed.