Born January 18, 1854 in Salem, Massachusetts, Thomas A. Watson was Alexander Graham Bell’s assistant, known to most of us for Bell’s single sentence, “Watson—Come here—I need you”—the first words transmitted through the telephone in 1876. While Bell was the inventor of the telephone, Thomas A. Watson was the skilled craftsman who brought the telephone to life, building model after model, modifying the components and shaping the original talking telephone until the famous phrase came through on route to the telephone that actually worked. Along the way, he developed a major ship-building business and wrote his autobiography called Exploring Life. And he is remembered in his home village of Braintree, Mass, for his devotion to culture. For example, when the schools couldn’t afford art and music teachers, Watson paid their salary. There is a grade school in Braintree named for him. Thomas A. Watson—The Other Man on the Line—died December 1.
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