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Many people consider Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 telephone patent to have been the most valuable ever issued by the U. S. Patent Office. In his recent book, The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret, author Seth Shulman claims that Bell “stole the key idea behind the invention of the telephone,” having copied the idea for a liquid transmitter from a patent caveat filed by rival Elisha Gray, and that Gray’s idea unlocked the secrets of the telephone for Bell.

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