[William Howard Taft, three-quarter-length portrait, seated, facing left, talking on a telephone as he receives news about his nomination as the 1908 Republican presidential candidate from President Theodore Roosevelt] / Harris & Ewing, Washington, DC.
Title devised by Library staff.
Publication date based on copyright statement: "Copyright 1909 by Harris & Ewing, Washington, DC."
Photograph from a series known as "The Evolution of a Smile."
Forms part of: George W. Harris collection.
Accession box no. PR 13 CN 2012:121, box 4, folder 3.
William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) served as the 27th President of the United States (1909–1913) and as the 10th Chief Justice of the United States (1921–1930), the only person to have held both offices. Taft was elected president in 1908 and was defeated for re-election by Woodrow Wilson in 1912 after Roosevelt split the Republican vote by running as a third-party candidate. William Taft attended Yale and was a member of Skull and Bones secret society. In 1904, Roosevelt made him Secretary of War and he became Roosevelt's hand-picked successor. After leaving office, Taft returned to Yale as a professor, continuing his political activity and working against war through the League to Enforce Peace. In 1921, President Harding appointed Taft chief justice, an office he had long sought. "Don't write so that you can be understood, write so that you can't be misunderstood."
The invention of the telephone still remains a confusing morass of claims and counterclaims, which were not clarified by the huge mass of lawsuits to resolve the patent claims of commercial competitors. The Bell and Edison patents, however, dominated telephone technology and were upheld by court decisions in the United States. Bell has most often been credited as the inventor of the first practical telephone. Alexander Graham Bell was the first to patent the telephone as an "apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically". The telephone exchange was an idea of the Hungarian engineer Tivadar Puskás (1844 - 1893) in 1876, while he was working for Thomas Edison on a telegraph exchange. Before the invention of the telephone switchboard, pairs of telephones were connected directly with each other, practically functioned as an intercom. Although telephones devices were in use before the invention of the telephone exchange, their success and economical operation would have been impossible with the schema and structure of the contemporary telegraph systems. A telephone exchange was operated manually by operators, or automatically by machine switching. It interconnects individual phone lines to make calls between them. The first commercial telephone exchange was opened at New Haven, Connecticut, with 21 subscribers on 28 January 1878, in a storefront of the Boardman Building in New Haven, Connecticut. George W. Coy designed and built the world's first switchboard for commercial use. The District Telephone Company of New Haven went into operation with only twenty-one subscribers, who paid $1.50 per month, a one-night price for a room in a city-center hotel. Coy was inspired by Alexander Graham Bell's lecture at the Skiff Opera House in New Haven on 27 April 1877. In Bell's lecture, during which a three-way telephone connection with Hartford and Middletown, Connecticut, was demonstrated, he first discussed the idea of a telephone exchange for the conduct of business and trade.