On this day in 1887, Columbus, Ohio native Granville T. Woods patented the induction telegraph system. This invention sent messages to and from moving trains and helped railroad engineers avoid crashes.
Thomas Edison sued Woods over the invention, claiming he had already invented a similar system. The courts sided with Woods and Alexander Graham Bell later bought the rights to the idea. Edison offered Woods a position at his firm, but he declined to focus on his own inventing.
With more than 60 patents to his credit, Granville T. Woods’ work revolutionized telecommunications in the railway industry. He was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.