In 1848, it could take more than a month for a letter from New York to be delivered to California. By 1861, more than 2,000 telegraph offices dotted cities and towns throughout the United States. Telegraph messages could reach their destinations within hours. In 1876, when Alexander Graham Bell offered to sell his new invention--the telephone--to the Telegraph Company, it declined, calling the telephone a toy. By 1900, there were 800,000 telephones in the country.