At the turn of the 19th century, many Italian families settled in the village of White Plains. They were farmers, masons, tailors, shoemakers, professors, lawyers and doctors. When they emigrated from Italy, they didn't bring personal riches but they brought 2,500 years of culture and continued the tradition that goes back to 1492 and the building of America. They soon realized the need to get together to protect and to fight discrimination. They formed what was known as Societa Italiana di Protezione- ITALIAN SOCIETY FOR THE COMMON GOOD. In 1905, Doctor Vincenzo Sellaro, a NYC-based physician, together with a group of prominent Italians, formed the Order " D'Italia" - Today known as The Sons of Italy.
Within a few years, hundreds of Italian Societies joined the Organization. By the end of 1914 there were 212 lodges and tens of thousands of members throughout the United States. There were over 50 lodges within New York City and vicinity. After much discussion the Italian Societies came to the conclusion that "L'Unione Fa La Forza" (United We have Strength) and most of them joined the Order.
A Lodge is Born
In 1914, a group of people from the White Plains Italian Society approached Professor Vittorio Pezzulla from the Cristoforo Colombo Lodge of Yonkers. After several meetings held at 1 Brookfield Street in White Plains, they decided to join L' Associazione Figli D'Italia. They chose the name of the great Italian Inventor, Antonio Meucci (The True Inventor of the Telephone) and they set up a meeting for the installation of the Lodge. On February 22, 1914, they rented the Marion Hall at the comer of Main Street and Martine Avenue and in the presence of 32 Other Lodge representatives and The Grand Lodge of New York. Representatives from Westchester County and City of White Plains, they then proceeded with the installation of Antonio Meucci Lodge #213. Within a few weeks they had 150 members and within a year they had 275 members. Their first order of business was the ordering of the "Lo Stennardo" (The Banner). The manufacturer was La Ditta M. Di Lenda from Brooklyn, NY. The Stennardo (The Banner) was going to be handmade. The weaving was to be in gold and silver. The gold strands were ordered from Naples, Italy. The manufacturer gave the lodge a sample of painted silk and went to work. It took three years at the cost of then $500 before the banner was completed.
Ensuring a Legacy
The members of this lodge soon found themselves helping each other as well as other people of Italian descent. However they didn't hesitate to dig deep into their pockets for any worthy cause that could use their help. They were very proud of their name, " The Antonio Meucci Lodge", so when several months later the house where Meucci lived in Staten Island was up for auction at $6,000.00, the Lodge did its best to collect money and participate in its purchase. At this time the house was known as Garibaldi House and had a pantheon built over it by the Garibaldi Society. Our Lodge fought and argued that the name shall be changed to Garibaldi Meucci House. Today it is known as the Garibaldi Meucci Museum and it is owned by the Sons of Italy Supreme Lodge. In 1916, The Meucci Lodge at the request of the Grand Lodge was authorized to raise funds to build a Statue of Meucci that would be installed in front of the house and an order for a bronze urn to hold his ashes that would then be buried at the foot of the Statue. In 1988 the Meucci Lodge raised money to have the remains of Meucci's wife, Ester, be brought to the Museum and be buried along side his grave. It was only right that after a century that they be reunited.
Helping Our Community
Over the course of the years, collections of money were made for many worthy causes - From "fratelli ammalati", (sick brothers), unfortunate people who needed assistance, to the Italian Tailors Union (which was involved in a long strike), to renting a house for an unfortunate Italian family who were evicted for non-payment of rent due to illness, the members of the Antonio Meucci Lodge were always there. In 1922 the Lodge raised money to buy a set of books on Italian History and donated them to the White Plains Library. The collection lasted for nearly 6 months with donations of .50 cents to some as high as $5 dollars being made until $250 was collected.
Some members never forgot "La Madre Patria". So in 1918 when Italy entered World War I, many sent their sons to fight for the Motherland, while others, to help the cause, bought Italian War Bonds. However, when the United States entered the war, many volunteered their services and bought United States Victory Bonds. During the 1920's, even though they did not have any formal fund raising activities, and every donation was made personally from each member, they did participate in all parades held in the City of White Plains. On September 20, 1920 they held a feast where they were honored to have among the dignitaries, Fiorello La Guardia, the President of the Council of New York City.
The Search For a Home
Finding a permanent home for the Antonio Meucci Lodge underwent many changes. From Marion Hall they met in many halls, including the Auditorium-Hall at 138 Y2 Main Street, the Kliens Hall at 79 Main St., The Columbus Hall at 192 Main Street, the Vogt's Hall at 85 Main St., the Moose Hall at 23 Hamilton Avenue and then finally settled at the Foresta Hall at 31 Main St. where they stayed for many years. Even though it was considered a Pellegrine Lodge it was not a poor lodge. For .50 cents a month dues, they managed to pay disability benefits of $7 a week to every sick member. They were provided with free medical services from a licensed physician that held a license both in Italy and in the US. At a member's death, the widows were paid a lump sum for burial.
At the end of 1921, the Antonio Meucci Lodge had in its treasury $3,012.79 including Italian and American Liberty Bonds. At this time it was enough money to purchase a couple of acres and to start building a Lodge. Unfortunately this did not come about until 1954 when an old house was bought at the comer of William Street and Rockledge Avenue. Under the dynamic direction of a newly elected venerable, Salvatore Argento, the house was renovated and served as a meeting place for the organization for many years. Under our own roof for the first time, the members of the lodge found unity and cooperation and went on to new heights in accomplishment and member participation. This lasted until the bulldozers of Urban Renewal leveled off the remains of the old White Plains and with it went our lodge and most of the houses where the original members lived.
In spite of it all, the members continued to hold their meetings at various halls, participated and sponsored big parades, held Miss Sons of Italy Pageants, dinners and many other activities. With the desire to have our own lodge once more, the monies received from the Urban Renewal Agency, the site where the Lodge stands today was purchased. However many attempts were made by past Venerables to build, but unfortunately those attempts failed. As the years went by the funds of the Lodge were gone and with it most of the old members left. With only 68 members and $5,000 in bank savings, a new venerable was elected who had the support of a small group of active members that where determined to see an end to the loss of membership and to explore the feasibility of starting construction on a new lodge building.
Home Sweet Home
Within a few months, the designs were prepared and a permit was obtained to build a new lodge. On September 6, 1978, Venerable Antonio Capicotto along with Grand Lodge Venerable Peter Zuzolo, Past Venerable Joseph Monetemarano, Grand Chaplin Julius Valentinelli, and City and County Authorities, a groundbreaking ceremony was performed. The bulldozer was on the site and from that day on the construction of the Lodge became a reality. Following were two years of feverish activities. Then Venerable Antonio Capicotto, a builder and mason by trade, was instrumental in building the lodge with his own hands while many members donated monies, materials and of course their labor for the common cause. To have money to build, Venerable Capicotto had printed $60,000 in bonds guaranteed personally by him to be paid within 5 years with 5% interest. Bonds were sold among the members and the project was finished in record speed.
On October 12, 1980, among all the festivities, the Antonio Meucci Lodge #213 had a grand opening ceremony. After 66 years of struggle and ups and downs, we had a beautiful building of our own. We were able to make a donation of $3,000 to the Grand Lodge Foundation, Inc. and left $21,000 in the treasury and a membership of 205 active members. With the money left from the construction and money made by lodge activities under the following three Venerables, Albert Roselli, Charles Tota and Frank Tarone, Venerable Capicotto, leader of the construction fund and president of Lamosia Corp, the entity that built the lodge, paid off the building bonds. Finally, in May 1986 the last of the building bonds were paid off. During a joyous celebration at the Lodge, we burned the bonds carefully as not to set the Lodge on fire. The building was paid in full, including $12,000 in interest on the bonds.
Come On In, Sisters!
As the years passed, the Lodge under went changes, challenges and achieved new milestones. The Antonio Meucci Lodge, as with OSIA, was for men only and that lasted for over 55 years. It was at this time that Lina Manganello, a woman, was determined to join our ranks. She succeeded and after a petition to the state Grand Lodge, we went coed. We feel that this was a blessing.
Today we feel that we could not have succeeded without our Sisters. They have contributed with the ins and outs of the lodge and hold many offices. In 1988 we elected our first woman president, Carmelita Grieco, for the first time in our history, and she was re-elected to serve a second term.
Solidarity, Pride, Strength and Philanthropy
Peter Zuzolo, a native of White Plains, rose to the top of the state ladder to be the Grand Venerable of the State of New York and in a few years time became President of the Supreme Lodge for all of the United States, Canada and Bermuda. Another member of this lodge, Salvatore Migliaccio, went on to become Grand Venerable of the State of New York. In 1980 we directed a petition drive, which introduced Italian Language classes at Stepinac High School in White Plains and other local schools.
We are a charitable Lodge. In 1979 we donated over $6,000 to the earthquake fund in Friuli, Italy. We have given thousands of dollars to Cooley's Anemia, Alzheimer?s, and The Gift of Sight just to name a few both on the Grand Lodge level as well as in our own community.
Our thirst for knowledge can be recognized by the numerous scholarships given at our Lodge. We have included a clause in the criteria for scholarship that a student need not be Italian but be a student of Italian. We found that this enabled us to become more diversified in our community. We have a genuine interest in our community, county, state and nation. We have welcomed all our political candidates to become our brothers and sisters and share with us their views so that we will be better educated to vote for what we believe. We celebrated our 75th Anniversary with great festivities. We added to our membership young men and women that have given a new look and ideas as to what the future Italian American will need to keep our heritage alive.
As we embarked on our journey for the past 15 years, we now come upon our 90th Anniversary celebration and we reflect on what we have accomplished. Our membership is young and vibrant and we have many enthusiastic young people that are working their way up the ladder. In 1994 the lodge elected the second women to hold the position of Lodge President, Rose Tassone. She brought a new spirit to the lodge and an enthusiasm to bring families back to the lodge. She went on to serve as State Trustee for 4 years and later served two years as Commissioner of the Garibaldi Meucci Museum. She continues to be a great asset to our lodge.
We have sponsored two $5,000 scholarships at the Grand Lodge level while rewarding students from our own lodge with four $500 scholarships every year. We have raised thousands of dollars from Atlantic City trips, organized by Teresa Riverso, to sold out fashion shows that raised over $7,000 for Cooley's Anemia and other Grand Lodge Charities. We have always kept our doors and hearts open to anyone in need, especially when one of our members granddaughter?s had a fight with cancer. We held a pasta dinner that raised $10,000 to help cover medical bills. The lodge has opened its doors to Geoff Claroni as he, along with Vito Tassone, helped educate our children in their Italian heritage through fun holidays with arts and costumes that have become yearly events at the lodge. We have opened our lodge to Professor Sclafani. He continues to expand the teaching of the Italian language from elementary school through college with the recognition of teachers of Italian and their students in a yearly ceremony here at the lodge where the County Executive proclaims October Italian Heritage Month.
The lodge is always busy but in October, it becomes a frenzy, as we prepare for The Columbus Day Parade in the City of White Plains. After three successful years it is now back and will be better then ever. After many years of participating at the Italian Heritage Festival Day in Westchester, we were authorized by the County Executive of Westchester to organize and run it. Our first year in charge became one of the best. It attracted more than ten thousand people. We are involved with our community as well as our heritage as we maintain the flowerbed at the statue of Columbus on North Broadway and pay homage on Columbus Day with a Wreath Ceremony. We have our Annual Columbus Dinner Dance where we recognize one of our own as Man or Woman of the Year.
When Antonio Amato took the oath of presidency of the Lodge, he brought with him a dream -To bring the lodge back to its former glory. With the support of his fellow officers and members the lodge underwent a facelift. From ceiling to floors, to painting and putting molding on the walls it was a work of pride in the hands of volunteer members. In the mist of renewal we were asked to help a young child name Antonio Segui, who is fighting a battle with cancer. Under Rose Tassone's chairmanship and the help of each and every member of this lodge, in one evening we were able to collect $18,000 and have a great party with standing room only.
Yet, as we approach our 90th Anniversary, we can't help but remember those that came before us who started this legacy. People like Vincent Ferraro, the last of the original members, two of our eldest members, Emilio Pettinicchi at 103 year and Giuseppe Venitucci at 101 years young, our first woman to join the lodge, Lina Manganello. Our Past Presidents, B. Albert Roselli, Frank Magnotta and many of our other members, may they rest in peace. As we continue to move forward with new Presidents, officers and members we will always remember to continue the traditions of our founding fathers. Our motto is:
"CON IL NOSTRO GLORIOSO PASSATO VIVIAMO IN UN ORGOGLIOSO PRESENTE E ASPETTIAMO UN BRILLANTE FUTURO."
(WITH OUR GLORIOUS PAST WE LIVE IN A PROUD PRESENT AND WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO A SHINING FUTURE.)
ANTONIO MEUCCI LODGE TIMELINE
1905 - Dr. Vincezo Sallaro forms the organization that will later be known as the Order Sons of Italy in America.
1914 - A new OSIA Lodge is formed by members of the White Plains Italian Society and the Cristoforo Colombo Lodge of Yonkers. They choose to name themselves after the 19th century inventor Antonio Meucci.
1916 - The Lodge contributes to the placement of a statue of its namesake in front of the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum in Staten Island.
1917 - Handwoven and featuring gold strands imported from Naples, the Lodge banner, which today hangs above the dais at the lodge, is completed after 3 years.
1920 - Fiorello LaGuardia is among the dignitaries joining Meucci Lodge members at a feast held to raise money for the war.
1922 - White Plains Library receives a collection of Italian language books from the Lodge.
1923 - 1953 - The Meucci Lodge becomes actively involved in the community, operating out of various locations and providing medical services, disability and death benefits for dues-paying members.
1954 - The first permanent location is chosen, a residential building at the corner of William Street and Rockledge Avenue. It serves as the Lodge's home until it is demolished, along with many surrounding homes, as part of the urban development of the City of White Plains.
1978 - The groundbreaking ceremony for the Lodge's new (and current) home on the corner of Maple and Summit Avenues takes place on on September 6, 1978.
1980 - It's a grand opening celebration on October 12, 1980 as Lodge members enter their new home. The building is completed thanks to the hard work and dedication of many members.
1988 - Ester Meucci is reunited with her husband Antonio, so to speak, as Meucci Lodge members contribute funds to have her remains buried next to his at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum.
1988 - Carmelita Grieco of White Plains is elected to the Lodge's first female president, who is then re-elected for a second term.
1999 - Lodge Member Steve Acunto is instrumental in having the U.S. Post Office honor undefeated champion heavyweight boxer Rocky Marciano with a U.S. postage stamp. Many Lodge members help in the petition to get a “Stamp for the Champ,”; a monument honoring the Italian American pugilist is placed on the lodge grounds in a ceremony attended by Rocky's nephew, Peter.
2004 - The Lodge celebrates its 90th Anniversary year, having secured many achievements in accordancee with its OSIA goals.
2007 - The street adjacent to the Lodge is re-named Antonio Meucci Place after successful campaigning headed by Lodge member Antonio Capicotto.
2014 - The Lodge celebrates its 100th Anniversary, completing many commemorative projects throughout the year including the placement of the dual flagpoles, the Trees of Life, a Lodge history photo CD and a Centennial plaque installation.
An invention none of us could live without, a tool of modern communications so basic that many of today's business and social activities would be inconceivable in its absence, the telephone, is at the center of a series of events so strange as to amount to a "whodunit."
Most of us were brought up on the story of Alexander Graham Bell, the romantic figure of an inventor with dash and charm. Some of these favorable impressions must have come from the famous, if apocryphal, "Come here Watson, I want you" legend of the invention of the device, a tradition augmented by the movie version of the tale, in which actor Don Ameche became more or less permanently attached to the persona of Bell.
But it seems that history must be rewritten if justice is to be done to an immigrant from Florence, Italy: Antonio Meucci, who invented the telephone in 1849 and filed his first patent caveat (notice of intention to take out a patent) in 1871, setting into motion a series of mysterious events and injustices which would be incredible were they not so well documented.
Meucci was an enigmatic character, a man unable to overcome his own lack of managerial and entrepreneurial talent, a man tormented by his inability to communicate in any language other than Italian. The tragic events of his personal and professional life, his accomplishments and his association with the great Italian patriot, Garibaldi, should be legendary in themselves but, curiously, the man and his story are practically unknown today.
Antonio Meucci was born in San Frediano, near Florence, in April 1808. He studied design and mechanical engineering at Florence's Academy of Fine Arts and then worked in the Teatro della Pergola and various other theaters as a stage technician until 1835, when he accepted a job as scenic designer and stage technician at the Teatro Tacon in Havana, Cuba.
Absolutely fascinated by scientific research of any kind, Meucci read every scientific tract he could get his hands on, and spent all his spare time in Havana on research, inventing a new method of galvanizing metals which he applied to military equipment for the Cuban government; at the same time, he continued his work in the theater and pursued his endless experiments.
One these touched off a series of fateful events. Meucci had developed a method of using electric shocks to treat illness which had become quite popular in Havana. One day, while preparing to administer a treatment to a friend, Meucci heard an exclamation of the friend, who was in the next room, over the piece of copper wire running between them. The inventor realized immediately that he held in his hand something much more important than any other discovery he had ever made, and he spent the next ten years bringing the principle to a practical stage. The following ten years were to be spent perfecting the original device and trying to promote its commercialization.
With this goal, he left Cuba for New York in 1850, settling in the Clifton section of Staten Island, a few miles from New York City. Here, in addition to his problems of a strictly financial nature, Meucci realized that he could not communicate adequately in English, having relied on the similarities of Italian and Spanish during his Cuban residence. Furthermore, in Staten Island, he found himself surrounded by Italian political refugees; Giuseppe Garibaldi, when exiled from Italy, spent his period of United States residency in Meucci's house. The scientist tried to help his Italian friends by devising any number of industrial projects using new or improved manufacturing methods for such diverse products as beer, candles, pianos and paper. But he knew nothing of management, and even those initiatives which succeeded were to have their profits eaten up by unscrupulous or inept managers or by the refugees themselves, who spent more time in political discussion than they did in active work.
Meanwhile, Meucci continued to dedicate his time to perfecting the telephone. In 1855, when his wife became partially paralyzed, Meucci set up a telephone system which joined several rooms of his house with his workshop in another building nearby, the first such installation anywhere. In 1860, when the instrument had become practical, Meucci organized a demonstration to attract financial backing in which a singer's voice was clearly heard by spectators a considerable distance away. A description of the apparatus was soon published in one of New York's Italian newspapers and the report together with a model of the invention were taken to Italy by a certain Signor Bendelari with the goal of arranging production there; nothing came of this trip, nor of the many promises of financial support which had been forthcoming after the demonstration.
The years which followed brought increasing poverty to an embittered and discouraged Meucci, who nonetheless continued to produce a series of new inventions. His precarious financial situation, however, often constrained him to sell the rights to his inventions, and still left him without the wherewithal to take out final patents on the telephone.
A dramatic event, in which Meucci was severely burned in the explosion of the steamship Westfield returning from New York, brought things to an even more tragic state. While Meucci lay in the hospital, miraculously alive after the disaster, his wife sold many of his working models including the telephone prototype and other materials to a secondhand dealer for six dollars. When Meucci sought to buy these precious objects back, he was told that they had been resold to an "unknown young man" whose identity remains a mystery to this day.
Crushed, but not beaten, Meucci worked night and day to reconstruct his invention and to produce new designs and specifications, clearly apprehensive that someone could steal the device before he could have it patented. Unable to raise the sum for a definitive patent ($250, considerable in those days), he took recourse in the caveat or notice of intent, which was registered on December 28, 1871 and renewed in 1872 and 1873 but, fatefully, not thereafter.
Immediately after he received certification of the caveat, Meucci tried again to demonstrate the enormous potential of the device, delivering a model and technical details to the vice president of one of the affiliates of the newly established Western Union Telegraph Company, asking permission to demonstrate his "Talking Telegraph" on the wires of the Western Union system. However, each time that Meucci contacted this vice president, a certain Edward B. Grant, he was told that there had been no time to arrange the test. Two years passed, after which Meucci demanded the return of his materials, only to be told that they had been "lost." It was then 1874.
In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell filed a patent which does not really describe the telephone but refers to it as such. When Meucci learned of this, he instructed his lawyer to protest to the U.S. Patent Office in Washington, something that was never done. However, a friend did contact Washington, only to learn that all the documents relevant to the "Talking Telegraph" filed in Meucci's caveat had been "lost." Later investigation produced evidence of illegal relationships linking certain employees of the Patent Office and officials of Bell's company. And later, in the course of litigation between Bell and Western Union, it was revealed that Bell had agreed to pay Western Union 20 percent of profits from commercialization of his "invention" for a period of 17 years. Millions of dollars were involved, but the price may been cheaper than revealing facts better left hidden, from Bell's point of view.
In the court case of 1886, although Bell's lawyers tried to turn aside Meucci's suit against their client, he was able to explain every detail of his invention so clearly as to leave little doubt of his veracity, although he did not win the case against the superior - and vastly richer - forces fielded by Bell. Despite a public statement by the then Secretary of State that "there exists sufficient proof to give priority to Meucci in the invention of the telephone," and despite the fact that the United States initiated prosecution for fraud against Bell's patent, the trial was postponed from year to year until, at the death of Meucci in 1896, the case was dropped.
The story of Antonio Meucci is still little known, yet it is one of the most extraordinary episodes in American history, albeit an episode in which justice was perverted. Still, the genius and perseverance of an Italian immigrant - genius, poor businessman, tenacious defender of his rights against incredible odds and grinding poverty - is a story which must be told. In June 2002, Meucci was officially credited by the Congress of the United States with the invention of the telephone, instead of Alexander Graham Bell.
Sources: Above article, Italian Historical Society of America, NY, NY • www.italianhistorical.org; Timeline, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_Meucci and The Garibaldi-Meucci Museum, www.garibaldimeuccimueum.org.
ANTONIO MEUCCI TIMELINE
1808 - Antonio Meucci is born on April 13 in the San Frediano borough of Florence, the first of nine children to a local police father and a homemaker mother.
1821 - Meucci, 13, is admitted to the Florence Academy of Fine Arts as its youngest student, where he studies chemical and mechanical engineering. Financial difficulties force him to leave the school 2 years later; he continues studying on his own.
1834 - While working as a stage technician at a theatre, Meucci constructed a type of acoustic telephone to communicate between the stage and control room. In August, he marries costume designer Ester Mochi.
1835 - The Meuccis emigrate to the Americas, where Antonio accepts a job as Chief Engineer and Edit as Director of Costumes at the Great Tacón Theatre of Havana. There he invents a water purification system.
1836-1849 - While in Havana, Meucci conducts various chemical and electromagnetic experiments, gaining him fame and recognition as a scientific researcher and developer of new technologies.
1849 - Meucci develops a popular method of using electric shocks to treat arthritis, of which Ester suffers greatly, by connecting copper wires to Bunsen batteries and discovers he can hear inarticualted human voice through the wires. He calls this device “telegrafo parlante” (“talking telegraph”). Building on this discovery, he first conceives of a telephonic system of communication and constructs a primitive “teletrofono” between the house where his wife is ailing and the theatre so they can speak.
1850 - 1856 - The Meuccis settle in Staten Island, where they would live the remainder of their lives. They open a candle factory on their property that provides a modest income on which to live while Antonio improves upon his “teletrofono”, with the primary purpose of connecting his ill wife's second floor bedroom to his basement laboratory. In 1856, he realizes his dream of trasnmitting his voice through wires with an electromagentic working model of a telephone.
1858 - The painter Nestore Corradi makes a sketch of Meucci's ideas which was used as the image on a stamp produced in 2003 by the Italian Postal and Telegraph Society.
1858 - 1861 - Meucci continues to improve on his teletrophoni, which are now fully-formed, hand-held, cup-shaped devices and begins seeking financing to back larger scale demonstrations. Unfortunately, his nationality and lack of English language skills prejuidice NY investors while goings-on with the Italian Risorgimento prevent his compatriots from assisting him, despite an attention-getting demonstration featuring a famous Italian opera singer.
1861 - 1870 - Now crippled by poverty brought on by fraudulent debt collectors, the Meuccis are on public assistance. Their Staten Island cottage is auctioned off but the purchaser allows them to continue to live there. Antonio's health and finances are further compromised by injuries sustained aboard an explosion on the Staten Island ferry. To raise funds, Ester sells his drawings and devices to a second-hand dealer for $6.00. Upon his recovery, Antonio frantically searches for the purchaser of his sold items to no avail. He develops friendships with interested parties who fund further advancements to his inventions but no true commitments materialize.
1871 - Not being able to afford the $250 for a patent, the 61-year-old inventor instead registers a caveat or legal notice of a successfully developed invention to protect his ideas as he attempts to attract financiers with duplicate models.
1872 - 1874 - Meucci meets with Edward B. Grant of the American District Telegraph Company of New York (which later joined with Western Union) to discuss testing his invention over the company's telegraph wires. Grant agrees to a test run, takes Meucci's models and documentations and informs the inventor to wait for the test to be arranged. Days become months and finally two years go by after which Meucci demands return of his materials only to be told that they have been “lost.” Meucci's caveat expires at year's end and fiancially broken he is unable to renew it.
1876 - 1889 - Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent on the telephone in 1876. Meucci protests and writes letters to the media asserting his priority of claim on the patent. Various litigation takes place in the battle for the patent, including an 1886 suit by the U.S. Government against Bell for fraud, collusion and deception in the obtainment of the patent. Bell brings suit against Meucci, who with limited funds and existing evidence, according to Judge William J. Wallace, cannot prove his priority over the Bell patent.
1889 - Meucci dies, penniless but confident in his life's work, in Staten Island on October 18, 1889.
2002 - On June 15, Congress offically recognizes Meucci's work in the invention of the telephone in H.R. Resolution 269 for the 107th Congress.