What if...? How often have we contemplated certain occurrences in the light of what has or hasn't happened?
In a book by W. Erb about the Leica company is a short paragraph that translates as follows:
“On September 1864, the 39th meeting of the German Naturalists and Physicians took place in Giessen. (Giessen is a town very close to Wetzlar) Particular efforts were made to remain competitive during the subsequent exhibition of microscopes. For the young mechanic (Ernst Leitz) there was a special task. Phillip Reis planned to demonstrate his invention, the telephone, since his first try in Frankfurt on October 16, 1861, had failed. Ernst Leitz successfully completed the preliminary work with the help of his technical knowledge, so that on September 21, 1884, the final recognition was not denied the inventor.”
After reading that short paragraph one has to wonder: What if Ernst Leitz had become interested in telephones? Could there have been a Leitel (Leitz Telephone)? Considering the fact that Ernst Leitz did not start his work at the Wetzlar Optical Institute until 1865, this seems to be a possibility.
It is also interesting to note that Alexander Graham Bell did not show his invention of the telephone until 1876, twelve years later.