Thursday, January 18, 2018

Only the Best: Bell (telephone) and Bartholdi (Statue of Liberty)

by Steve Reiss (

Trivia Question:

What does Alexander Graham Bell (March 3, 1847 – August 2, 1922) and Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (2 August 1834 – 4 October 1904) have in common?


They are both of European birth?

True, but not what I am looking for.

They both had patents?

Partially, but there is more to it than that.

They were beer buddies?  No, there is no evidence of that.

Give us the answer already, please.

Fine, they both had the same patent attorney, Anthony Pollok. Pollok immigrated to the United States about 1884 where he built a successful law practice and enjoyed the opulent lifestyle of a prosperous Washington, D.C. lawyer. Pollok's office was a half block from the Patent Office.

According to Wikipedia, Bell wrote of Pollok:

"Mr. Pollok has the most palatial residence of any that I have ever seen. It is certainly the finest and best appointed of any in Washington. None of the rooms are less than fifteen feet high. The portico is also about fifteen feet high - supported by massive polished Aberdeen-granite pillars. Mr. Pollok has been introducing me to some of the elite of Washington. Yesterday we called upon Mrs. Bancroft (wife of the historian)... Today we called on Prof. Henry of the Smithsonian - and on Saturday Mr. Pollok gives a party in my honor - and I expect to meet Sir Edward Thornton and members of the other foreign Embassies."

Bell's First Telephone Patent - See Pollok's Name in Lower Right Corder

The Statue of Liberty Patent (see Pollok's name in lower right corner).


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