It is easy to take our everyday technology for granted and forget that it all had to start somewhere.
Take the home telephone for instance. There had to be a time when only one telephone existed, (quite how a telephone would work without there being two in existence is a question we are not about to answer here.)
So where was there first ever residential telephone? Well it began in 1875 with one Charles Williams, Jr. He was a successful businessman who manufactured telegraph instruments.
In June of that year, Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas A. Watson had been using Williams’ shop on Court Street to experiment with a device called a telephone.
Williams bought a house at 1 Arlington Street in Somerville in 1876. Because of his contact with the famous inventors, he had the first permanent residential telephone line in the world installed into his home.
In 1877 this phone was connected to his shop in Boston. These lines would be called numbers 1 and 2 in the Bell Telephone Company network.
An agreement between the patent holders and Williams gave Williams exclusive rights of manufacture, with Watson serving as quality control.
When the telephone went in to large scale manufacturing, it was Williams’ business that had to meet the demand.
By August of 1877, 778 telephones were in operation and Williams’ shop was churning out 50 a day.
And this is was the beginning of the American Bell Telephone Company. This of course would later turn into the world famous AT&T (American Telephone & Telegraph Company.)