William Gray’s Pay Telephone: "One day in Gray’s workroom a coin slipped out of a helper’s hand and fell on a bell. Gray was startled. Then he saw his solution. The coin itself must give the signal. The bell must be placed in its path!"
There's two things about William Gray's story worthy of note to those who would change the world:
- From his personal experience, he had some idea of the practical problem he needed to solve, but he hadn't a clue how to solve it, and even after showing his first quite absurd solution to the Bell officials, neither he nor they had any idea how to proceed. Not until he stumbled upon the solution by sheer chance. Nonetheless, if he hadn't been looking for that coin-bell sound, he would never have noticed it.
- Seems Gray Telephone had a sugar-daddy in Amos Whitney, and it's worth a note too that while the initiator, discoverer and developer Gray got the company named after him and got a world where his original crisis-problem was now permanently solved, it is the bankrolling Amos who got the top-salary job.