It’s hard to believe that the word “hello” entered common discourse so recently, and that an inventor suggested it in a conscious attempt to develop a protocol for using the telephone. (Wired, apparently borrowing heavily from Wikipedia.)
Bell’s famous first words spoken over what we now call the telephone — “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.” — were delivered without any greeting at all.
When he did weigh in on the subject, Bell proposed using “ahoy, ahoy,” the age-old seafarer’s hail. And, in fact, ahoy was the first greeting used, until Edison suggested hello.