Elisha Gray (b. August 2, 1835, Barnesville, OH–d. January 21, 1901, Newtonville, MA) was an American electrical engineer who co-founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company. He is best known for his development of a telephone prototype in 1876 in Highland Park, Illinois. There is a dispute over the inventor of the telephone: Gray or Alexander Graham Bell. Gray was a prolific inventor and also considered to be the father of the modern music synthesizer. In his lifetime, he was granted over 70 patents for his inventions. He was also one of the founders of Graybar, purchasing a controlling interest in the company shortly after its inception.