Thursday, February 22, 2007
Mazzei and Meucci
Filippo Mazzei and Antonio Meucci are two significant Italian-American figures in American history, both of Tuscan descent. Mazzei was a physician and businessman, who lived in the American colonies before and during the American Revolution. A friend of Thomas Jefferson, some of the contents of his letters became key parts of the wording in the American Constitution. Antonio Meucci is often credited, both in Italy and among Italian-American institutions, as the inventor of the telephone.
I'll just make this brief. In all likelihood, Meucci didn't invent the telephone. Intrinsically, "patents" are vastly overrated and prove nothing. He may very well have been right up there with the top minds in that particular area of research, but that doesn't mean he invented the telephone. You can take one single invention and produce twenty different patents from twenty different people! My educated guess is that he didn't invent the telephone. There are scores an scores of inventors from Northern Italy in particular, and there is no need to demand that Meucci was the inventor of the telephone. It has been hard to get at the truth in this issue because of tremendous bias, both for and against.
Filippo Mazzei, on the other hand, is vastly, vastly underrated! Although an aristocrat, he wasn't afraid to get his hands dirty. He did far more than given credit for! It wasn't just some letters, but he tirelessly recruited regiments from Piedmont, from his native Tuscany, and elsewhere. He traveled throughout Europe, promoting the American revolutionary cause. He also served as an agent, purchasing arms for Virginia during the Revolutionary War. He was a true revolutionary! Upon his eulogy, Thomas Jefferson credited him with being one of America's founders.