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Introduction To organize and depict in abbreviated form Alexander Graham Bells invention of the telephone we 1 have created a series of flowchart maps that include every sketch we have been able to locate from Bells experimental notebooks patents depositions in court and correspondence As the dates on the map indicate time advances as on the maps from top to bottom Multiple boxes spreading from right to left at the same time indicate that Bell was pursuing several lines of research at that point When we say that Bell followed a path to the telephone it makes his innovation process sound more linear and goal-directed than it really was though Bell tried very hard to be scientific in his approach 2 and therefore was more linear than his competitors Edison and Gray We refer to this flowchart as a map because the term flowchart implies more logical structure than does map which may reflect the wanderings of an inventor This series of maps is arranged hierarchically The top level depicts the major experiments along Bells path to a patent and to a device that successfully transmitted speech When you click on one of the sketches in boxes on this top level you will move to a lower-level map depicting a series of experiments that were subsumed under that higher-level box Some of these lower level maps will be combined with text which describes the depicted experiments andor sketches These maps were originally developed using a program called TopDown on the Macintosh exporting them to the World Wide Web has caused us to make format changes that we think will result in improvements over the longer term but in the short term may make them more difficult to use We welcome feedback as you attempt to explore Bells path What follows is a narrative that will help you to understand the structure of the top-level map and will also provide references
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