The history of the telephone

I can't hear you rose that's funny I can

hear you plainly isn't this great Here I

am in New York and there you are in st.

Louis and and it's just like you're in

the next room I said it's just like

you're in the next room few inventions

can claim to have changed the course of

history as thoroughly as the telephone

from simple sounds beamed down a wire to

holding the sum of human knowledge in

our hands the ever-evolving tech that

lets us instantly chat with someone

hundreds of miles away has altered the

way we live time and time again here's

how the telephone has changed and how

the telephone and how the telephone in

turn has changed us the telephone itself

was more evolution than revolution

building on the Telegraph a genius bit

of gadgetry that allowed coded messages

to be sent through wires as electrical

impulses problem was this setup could

only take one message down a wire at a

time the popularity of the Telegraph

booming in the second half of a 19th


the race was on to find something better

inventors tackling the problem included

Edinburgh born Alexander Graham Bell and

Elisha gray from Ohio at first the plan

was to transmit multiple tones down one

telegraph line and in 1875 gray patented

the electric telegraph for transmitting

musical tones inadvertently becoming the

father of the synthesizer before long

though it became clear that transmitting

human speech had even more potential one

year later the telephone was close to

becoming real as both inventors rushed

to get their increasingly sophisticated

creations enshrined in patent law it was

Bell who got his patent in first

becoming the inventor of the telephone

well maybe frankly just the question of

who truly deserves the credit for the

telephone could make your head spin on

Valentine's Day 1876 bells patent

application was entered onto the books

just a few hours later Gray's paperwork

hit the official record

a month later its Bell who successfully

transmits speech but there are

allegations that bells transmission used

a liquid transmitter suspiciously

similar to grace or paint examiner's

anus Wilbur's claims that bells team

slipped him $100 in exchange for a peek

at Gray's work then later claims that

those claims contradicted Wilbur's

Leigha claims hundreds of legal cases

into while out of court experts continue

to debate whether it was gray or Bell or

invent a psyche antonio meucci johann

philipp reis or charles pourcel all of

whom were dreaming up or building voice

transmission tech you could even argue

that Thomas Edison deserves the credit

as in 1877 he patented a carbon grain

transmitter which used the variable

resistance of carbon under pressure to

make long-distance calls practical okay

so it's unclear who deserves the title

of telephone inventor but we do know who

actually got it Alexander Graham Bell a

few years after the patent war the Bell

Telephone Company today known as AT&T

had exchanges in most major US cities

and as the telephone caught on new

developments came thick and fast early

phone calls involved an operator who'd

manually connect you to the phone line

of the person you wanted to talk to

these would eventually give way to

automatic switches of the kind patented

as long ago as 1891 by Almon Strowger as

transmitter tech improved the

candlestick phone became increasingly

obsolete replaced around the late 1920s

by models like this one which crammed a

transceiver and receiver into one

handset 1927 saw London and New York

connected by a commercial transatlantic

phone service it was conducted via radio

but in 1955 and 56 a huge feat of

engineering saw the laying of the

transatlantic t81

the first of many underwater telephone

cables that would ultimately connect the

entire globe by 1969 90% of US

households had a telephone but this

world shifting tech still had one

downside wires GPM I see me no lady I'm

an eccentric millionaire I'll get so

many phone calls I could carry the phone

around with me mobile telephony dates

back to 1946 when it became possible to

make a call from your car so long as you

had loads of money and hardly anyone

else in town was trying to make a call

at the same time one year later

Bell Labs is Douglas H ring sent a memo

describing something much fancier a

hexagonal cell network that could make

countrywide car phones a reality it was

the blueprint for a cellular phone

network but the tech didn't exist to

support such a system two decades later

that was all changing the early 70s and

Bell Labs was still working on cellular

tech but was still focused on putting

phones in cars

ultimately it was Motorola who captured

the public's imagination in 1973

demonstrating an entirely untethered

phone the first cell phone the DynaTAC

8000x hit shelves

a decade later weighing two and a half

pounds with twenty minutes of battery

life and costing around ten thousand

dollars in today's money it wasn't

pretty but Motorola's breakthrough spot

a global obsession with mobile

telephones the next two decades or

mobile marvels get more powerful more

affordable and more miniature while the

telegram got a kind of mobile rebirth in

the form of the text message by 1998

there were nearly 70 million u.s. mobile

subscribers a figure that would double

just four years later at this time

Bluetooth 3G color screens and cameras

were making our Mobile's truly

multifunctional as the power of these

devices grew in line with their

popularity the next step forward in

telephony was only a matter of time and

we are calling it iPhone it's ironic

that is today's touchscreen 4G capable

phones get more advanced we use them

less and less for the actual

transmission of our voices the original

problem that so many great minds

grappled with nearly 150 years ago but

in another way modern mobiles are

fulfilling the telephonic promise like

never before giving humans more tools to

communicate with and understand each

other regardless of whereabouts on the

planet they are that's all for now but

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