Simultaneous discoveries at Six and Twenty

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The Six and Twenty book club met on May 20 at Charlie’s Cast and Crew. The program leader and hostess for the day was Mrs. Lorie MacDonald, who is passing the book “The Invention of Miracles” by Katie Booth.

Ms. Booth sent a lovely letter of introduction and she was so pleased to have her book read by a club with such a long history of reading and enjoying books.

This book is about the life and accomplishments of Alexander Graham Bell. As the son of a deaf mother and the husband of a deaf wife, he worked relentlessly to normalize their deafness. He hoped to help the deaf seem more a part of society at large by masking their deafness and teaching them what he termed “visible speech.” This approach prioritized the spoken word and lip reading.

Forms of communication were always important to Bell. He worked with his father-in-law to modernize the old Morse code telegraph, hoping to carry multiple messages at one time, allowing for cheaper rates and greater access.

At the same time, Bell was working on a simple telephone along with the multiple telegraph project. Simultaneously, a man named Elisha Gray was working on a telephone device and in February of 1876, Gray and Bell filed patents for the telephone on the same day.

A few years ago, Mrs. Margie McMullen passed the book “The Wright Brothers” by David McCullough which detailed the invention of the airplane — not just by the Wright Brothers, but also by Samuel Langley who flew a flying machine nine days apart from the brothers. Mrs. MacDonald chose to focus her program for the day on these and other examples of simultaneous inventions and discoveries. She passed a handout that detailed 148 examples of simultaneous inventions and discoveries.

Following a successful book exchange, the ladies enjoyed a social hour and conversation. Mrs. MacDonald served carrot cake cupcakes, made by Mrs. Leslee Morris, along with coffee and tea.

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