Fred Gower and Sedgwick Telephones (BUS.16)
Photo and text about Fred Gower who brought early telephones to Sedgwick
Frederick Allan Gower and the Telephone in Hancock County
Frederick Allan Gower, the son of Maria Susan Dix Gower Sargent, third wife of Wyer G. Sargent, was an American entrepreneur who was an associate of Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the first telephone. In July of 1877 he visited his mother and, at the request of Wyer Sargent, brought several of the new phones with him. The story that follows, by an unknown author, describes this visit and the trial use of these phones.
Scans of photos and documents donated by Nancy Hitchcock and Diana Wood.
In the early 1880s Fred created a differently designed phone that became popular in Europe and which was produced by the Gower Bell Telephone Company in Manchester, England. By the turn of the century his phone fell into disuse and was replaced by more efficient models.1 Fred married soprano opera star Lillian “La Nordica” Norton in 1883 and, in 1885, Fred lost his life while trying to fly a hot air balloon over the English Channel.
In Wyer Sargent’s journal, he writes,
“Sept. 27, 1883 Left for Brookline via steamer.
Nov. 3 Wife, Eddie and self attended the symphony concert at Music Hall at which Lillian sang. There was a full house and Lillian’s success was complete.
Nov. 5 Attended the concert at the Boston Conservatory of Music at which Lillian sang. We enjoyed it very much. Her singing was excellent.
Dec. 21 Fred sailed” [for Paris to meet Lillian]