Katie Booth repeats the silly idea that Italian-American Antonio Meucci may have invented the telephone in 1871, long before Bell. No serious historian of early telecommunication believes the Meucci claims.
Years after Bell was granted his patent and the Bell telephone companies began service around the world, Meucci sold the rights he claimed to the Globe Telephone, which began to sell franchises and shares to investors. When American Bell sued Globe for patent infringement, there was a trial with many days of testimony by Meucci himself, his patent attorney, his investors, and his partners.
The judge was scathing in his criticism of Meucci’s claims and behavior. He wrote in his decision that the evidence showed that Meucci never had a working telephone and was deliberately attempting to defraud investors, including fellow Italian immigrants of modest means, but did not seek investments from serious investors because he knew he didn’t have a telephone that worked. 
Indeed, Meucci’s co-defendants – his own business partners – raised as their defense in the patent trial the fact that Meucci never produced a single telephone that was operational. Mr. Stetson, Meucci’s patent attorney, testified that he filed numerous patents for Mr. Meucci during this period, but had told Meucci his telephone idea was not ready for application to the PTO.
The most damning evidence was Meucci’s own words contained in his patent caveat. As the judge wrote, “The caveat itself is sufficient to indicate that he had reached no practical result.” 
The only electrical part of Meucci’s caveat was an idea for sending an electrical current through “both the conductor and the parties communicating.” Meucci claimed, “It may be found practicable to work with the person sending the message insulated, with the person receiving it in free electrical communication with the ground. Or these conditions may possibly be reversed, and still operate with some success.”
Anyone should realize the idea of sending electrical current through people using a telephone was total nonsense.
9. American Bell Telephone Co. v. Globe Telephone Co., 31 Federal Reporter 729 (S.D.N.Y. 1887). 10. American Bell Telephone Co. v. Globe Telephone Co., 31 Federal Reporter 729 (S.D.N.Y. 1887).