Ring Ring… Hello?

Question: Who coined the famous phone greeting: hello?

If you’re thinking Alexander Graham Bell (or Lionel Richie), then you’re wrong. Thomas Edison actually came up with “Hello” as a telephone greeting! Alexander Graham Bell may have invented the telephone, but he didn’t come up with the most popular greeting during a phone call.

A fierce rivalry (okay, maybe fierce is a strong word) between Bell and Edison came about over the correct way to answer a call. Bell proclaimed “Ahoy” was the one and only way to answer a call correctly. Luckily Edison created a never-ending campaign (not really) to spread “Hello” among the masses. By 1880, Thomas was proclaimed the winner in the relentless telephone greeting war!

But wait! Alexander Graham Bell has kept a few rebels on his payroll. Some may know this gentleman as the scrooge of Springfield: Mr. Burns. If you’re a regular viewer of The Simpsons then you won’t be shocked by the correlation between Bell and Burns. When Mr. Burns answers the phone, his standard greeting is “Ahoy-hoy.” (Fight the power!)

Fun Fact: The first published phone book contained a tutorial on proper phone etiquette. “Hello” was listed in the “How To” section as the official greeting for phone calls. Users were told to offer “a firm and cheery ‘hulloa.”

Sadly, our “Hello” must now come to a “Good-bye.”