Seth Godin states the following:
Here's why people liked the telegraph: It was universal, inexpensive, asynchronous and it left a paper trail.
The telephone offered not one of these four attributes. It was far from universal, and if someone didn't have a phone, you couldn't call them. It was expensive, even before someone called you. It was synchronous--if you weren't home, no call got made. And of course, there was no paper trail.
If the telephone guys had set out to make something that did what the telegraph does, but better, they probably would have failed."
Hmm, am of a different opinion.
When a telegram came into the telegraph office someone had to deliver the message physically. Then someone thought of the idea: why not create a system to notify someone a telegram for them has arrived in the telegraph office so they can come and collect it themselves. Then we have also a better chance - opportunity - to telegraph their answer straight away (instead of the receiver perhaps writing a letter in reply if the messages wasn't too urgent, who wants to walk all the way back to the telegraph office to have the reply send out when it is not an urgent matter?).
That's, according to myth, why and how the telephone was invented: to make life easier for the telegraph office (and create more 'selling' opportunities).
However, someone else saw a different 'use' for this new invention: why send a telegram through the telegraph office when you can relay the message yourself, and get an answer straight away?
It's the new (better) use of the telephone that destroyed the telegraph, not the invention itself.
What other 'invention' do you know of was officially created for something but turned into a completely different 'innovation'?