Telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell ripped off the idea from his rival Elisha Gray, a new book claims. In The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell's Secret, journalist Seth Shulman uncovers evidence that Bell took a sneak peek at Gray's patent documents with the help of his lawyers and a corrupt patent examiner, MSNBC reports.
Bell's lab notebook details how, after a 12-day gap in 1876 when the inventor traveled to Washington to answer patent questions, he and his assistant Thomas Watson curiously switched from a failed method of transmitting voice across a wire to another that eventually worked. Bell's diagram for this new device was eerily similar to Gray's. The book hits shelves January 7. (Read more telephone stories.)