At the moment it is impossible to imagine our lives without telephone. We have got used to depend on it entirely, and what is more, it has become not only a device for connecting people, as it was first intended for, but an important and sometimes rather effective substitution for audio players, photo cameras, netbooks and so on. In this way, this revolutionary invention has gone through a long history of modifications and improvements, and has extremely changed life of mankind. The following report is aimed at exploring the history of telephone from its first days to the present day and at making predictions on its possible future.
Initially, telephone was invented as a device to transmit sounds from one person to another one on the distance. Such an easy definition already comes from the very name of the device which comes from the Greek words ďfarĒĚ and ďvoiceĒĚ (John 2010, p. 49). The roots for telephone can be found in the utilization of mechanical devices for transmitting sounds, such as pipes, speaking tubes, tin can telephone, also known as Ēėlover’s phone’. The last worked on the principle of mechanical vibrations transmitted from one diagram to another by a wire connecting them. The utilization of electromagnetic waves in the telephone was borrowed from the development of an electric telegraph which was taking place at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The fact of telephone invention is usually credited to Alexander Graham Bell, but the truth is not so clear. At least several people have taken part in the process of telephone invention, Elisha Gray, Johann Philipp Reis, Charles Bourseul, and Thomas Edison in particular (Coe 1995, p. 91). The way this telephone has reached us can be shortly reflected in the following timeline.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1667: Mechanical vibrations were used by Robert Hooke to make a string telephone.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1753: Electricity was first proposed to be used for message transmission by Charles Morrison.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1832: Baron Schilling created electromagnetic telegraph.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1837: Samuel Morse and his assistant Alfred Vail invented the Morse code to signalize the alphabet.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1844: The idea of a speaking telegraph was first mooted by Innocenzo Manzetti.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1854: Antonio Meucci constructed telephone-like devices.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1860: Johann Philipp Reis constructed the so-called make-and-break (first speech-transmitting) telephones (Baker 2000, p. 55).
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1872: Western Electric Manufacturing Company was established by Elisha Gray.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1875: A bi-directional gallows telephone was used by Alexander Graham Bell. It transmitted voicelike sounds, which not very distinct, but at this stage the transmitter and the receiver were already both consisting of membrane electromagnet instruments. The same year Thomas Edison created an electro-dynamic receiver.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1876: Alexander Graham Bell received the U.S. patent for the telephone invention. Simultaneously, Elisha Gray designed a telephone on the basis of a water microphone. The same year Tivadar Puskas invented switchboard exchange (Bruce 1990, p. 101).
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1877: The First long-distance telephone line was built. The telephone business is now entered by now world-known Western Union, which used Thomas Edison’s superior carbon microphone transmitter (Baker 2000, p. 57).
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1880: First wireless telephone call is performed in the United States.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1915: The first long-distance coast-to-coast telephone call was performed by Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas Augustus Watson.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1927: Rotary dial service was introduced and started at midnight.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1941: Multi-frequency dialing was introduced in Maryland, U.S.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1946: First commercial mobile phone was conducted.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†1947: Douglas H. Ring and W. Rae Young engineered hexagonal cell transmission to use in mobile phones (Farley 2007, p. 16).
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1956: The transatlantic cable TAT-1 cable was inaugurated.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1963: Push-button telephone becomes available to public.
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 1973: The era of handheld cellular mobile phones began. Martin Cooper, the manager of Motorola, conducted a cellular phone call in front of reporters (Baker 2000, p. 70).
–¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 2007: The shipping of iPhone began.