Born in Florence: the ‘italian theater’ and the telephone

In 1657 the Teatro della Pergola was inaugurated in 1834 Meucci created an “acoustic telephone

On behalf of the Accademia degli Immobili, chaired by Cardinal Giovan Carlo de ‘Medici, a wooden structure theater was erected in Florence near a vineyard owned by the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova.

The theater took the name of Teatro della Pergola from the street where a grape arbor had stood since the 16th century. Built with the orders of superimposed stages, instead of semicircular steps, it is considered the first large “Italian theater”, the first to have a series of raised stages supported by columns and the oval shape with the greatest acoustic performance.

In a small storage room in that theater, the “stage toolmaker” Antonio Meucci, set up his own small laboratory and created a device capable of transporting sounds from one point to another in the proscenium: an acoustic telephone.

Consisting of two pipes embedded in the wall, it allowed the “attic” to speak in a low voice with “toolmakers and stage staff”, from the stage floor to the maneuvering grate, placed at about twenty meters high. It was thus possible, during the scene changes, to give and receive orders without making itself heard by the public and without using an uncomfortable signal system with torches.

Used until 1965, it was set aside after the work done after the flood of ’66.

Antonio Meucci (born in Florence in 1808 in the San Frediano district and died in New York in October 1889) has certainly contributed substantially to the invention of the telephone, the “telphone” designed and built in America, was the son of appliance that he had invented and placed behind the scenes of the Teatro della Pergola in Florence.