Bell's Rival: Elisha Gray

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Although most people have heard of Alexander Graham Bell, the name of rival inventor Elisha Gray (18351901) is not as recognizable. After growing up on a farm in Ohio, Gray worked as a carpenter to support his studies at Oberlin College, where he became interested in electrical devices. Like Bell, Gray worked on improvements to the telegraph. Bell beat Gray by only two hours when filing the patent for the telephone. Gray went on to create the TelAutograph, which transmitted writing or drawings. He demonstrated his invention at the World's Fair in Chicago in 1893. Shortly before his death, Gray began tests of an underwater signaling device.