TBT: The Invention of the Telephone

This week’s Throw Back Thursday goes all the way back to nearly 150 years ago as we take a look at the invention of the telephone. The telephone was one of mankind’s most significant inventions and we still use it to this very day. Not only did it make communications easier at the time, but it also paved the road for new communication discoveries such as video transfers and the internet. If it weren’t for the invention of the telephone, random chat sites and the internet altogether would still be a vision rather than reality.

old-telephone

It was in the early 1870’s that inventor Alexander Graham Bell created the first telephone. Another inventor, Elisha Gray, also designed a similar device and both Gray and Bell had to battle the legality of the patent. However, Alexander Graham Bell patented his design just a few hours before Gray which crowned him as being the official inventor of the telephone.

Bell didn’t envision creating the telephone at first as his main goal was to improve the original telegraph system. His vision was to be able to send multiple messages simultaneously in order to speed up conversations with the telegraph. However, his attempts to improve the telegraph brought him to discover that sounds could be transmitted from one location to another by converting the voice tones into electrical pulses and then converting them back into sound tones.

Telephone

Alexander teamed up with a young electrician called Thomas Watson and the two of them later went on to create the telephone. In fact, the first telephone conversation ever established was these two men. Alexander Graham Bell was the first person to ever transfer speech through electrical wires when he said the following on his telephone: “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” This first sentence has gone down in history as being the first words to have ever been transmitted over a telephone connection. Who would have thought that 150 years later we would be going from one webcam to the next with strangers from all over the globe in a matter of seconds?

It didn’t take long for the telephone to become a major hit and by 1880; over 45,000 telephones were being used in the USA. This led to the founding of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company which many of us know today as AT&T. However, at the time, telephones were much different from the ones we have today. They had one beak that you would speak into and another that you placed on your ear to hear out of. It wasn’t until 1970 before the very first cordless phone was released.

max_portablephone

At the time, cell phones were in their first stages of existence, but they were used as satellite phones. Rather than connecting to towers, they used satellites that were orbiting the earth. In the late 1990’s, cell phones became popular and today, there are more cell phones in use than regular home phone lines. The invention of the telephone has gone a long way since it was first created, but we still use it to this very day. If it weren’t for the telephone, the internet would still be a myth.

Stay tuned for next Thursday’s Throw Back Thursday post!

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