Thomas Carter and his Carterfone played a significant role in ending the Bell Telephone Company’s monopoly on telephone service in the United States. Carter’s device connected telephone and radio conversations without a wired electrical connection. At the time, the Bell Company owned most of the telephones in America and prohibited customers from using the device claiming that it might harm their network. Carter successfully sued the Bell System arguing that with no wired connection Carterfones could not damage the network. This and other legal cases undermined Bell’s arguments that only a monopoly could provide economical telephone service and the company was broken up in 1982.
Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.