Charles Bourseul was born in Brussels, Belgium, in 1829 and lived in France. He was the first to theorize about a telephone for voice communication and attempted to build one decades before Bell perfected it, but his receiver never successfully converted signals back into clear sound. He died in 1912.
Bourseul worked for a telegraph company as an engineer and made improvements to L.F. Breguet's and Morse's telegraph. In 1854 he first theorized about the transmission of voice and wrote a famous explanation of how it would be done. He experimented with electrical transmission of the human voice and developed an electromagnet microphone, but never completed a working receiver.