In Pictures: So crazy it just might work

11 successful technology ideas that were scorned (initially)

Telephone The question of who actually invented the telephone has inspired a small library full of academic research. But at least one of the earliest telephone prototypes was met with official scorn. In 1860, a full 16 years before Alexander Graham Bell's patent, German schoolmaster Johann Phillip Reis constructed a prototype "telephon" and sent the details to a prominent scientific journal. The editors scoffed at the idea of telephonic transmission and Reis' paper was rejected out of hand. Evidence of Reis' work was later suppressed during the telephone patent wars of the 1870s.

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