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Invention of the Telephone

Posted on August 3, 2009 by , with 32767 views

Telephone

One of the most important and revolutionary inventions which impacts greatly upon modern day communication is the invention of the telephone. The idea behind the telephone is simple, a system which converts sound into a series of electrical impulses of differing frequencies, and then reverses this procedure to re-create the sound, typically a human voice. Sounds simple enough, but it took many years and an array of different inventors to finally succeed with the technology.

As early as 1831, Michael Faraday proved that vibrations of metal could be converted into electrical impulses. This was the basic principle of the telephone, but no one made use of such technology until 1861, when German inventor, Johann Reis, successfully built an apparatus that converted sound to electricity and back again. The apparatus had many flaws, incapable of transmitting many frequencies and therefore was never fully developed.

This idea was elaborated on by two men in the United States, who simultaneously began experimenting and creating what would be known as the telephone. Elisha Gray and Alexander Graham Bell (a Scottish inventor), both worked hard to produce the equipment, and amazingly both filed for a patent within hours of one another, Bell beating his rival by merely two hours on February 14th, 1876.

Despite Gray building the initial diaphragm / electromagnetic receiver two years prior, he was unable to produce a working version of his transmitter until after Bell. Bell worked effortlessly, whereas Gray became disheartened by the exhausting invention process.

The first comprehensible telephone conversation was said to have taken place between Bell and his assistant, who was sitting in another room. Bell said, "Come here, Watson, I want you" which Watson successfully heard via the receiver and the invention of the telephone was complete. The Bell Telephone Company (AT&T) was soon established and grew to be the largest telephone company in existence.

The following year, in 1877, the first telephone system was put in place in Hartford, Connecticut, whilst the first exchange which linked two cities, was established between both Boston and New York in 1883. London hosted the first exchange put into practice outside the United States in 1879. The system however proved time consuming, as the exchange was controlled by a large switchboard with a number of operators working manually to divert the calls.

The first automatic exchange was patented by Almon Strowger in 1891 and instilled in 1892, although manual switchboards remained in place until the mid-twentieth century. In 1889, William Gray invented the coin operated telephone, whereas the first rotary dial telephone was produced by Frenchman, Antoine Barnay, in 1923.

The Bell Telephone Company later developed the mobile telephone which was used by New York police cars in 1924. The first commercial mobile service was created in 1946, in St Louis, Missouri but it did not become commonplace until a following four decades.

Touch tone systems, which used sound tones rather than electrical pulses, were installed in 1941, however the need for central switching made the idea too expensive, yet Bell's company were curious as to the potential of touch tone employment. As electrical circuitry prices fell, the touch tone systems could finally be deployed in common households, which occurred in 1962.

AT&T began experimentation with cells within mobile technology, primarily based on hexagonal geographical regions. As the caller moved from one cell to another, the communication link would remain intact, by automatically switching to the new cell without any form of disruption. This foundation for mobile phone technology was put into place in the United States in 1983.

The invention of the telephone is a hot topic within the inventor circle, and the recognised inventor is somewhat sketchy. Many believe it to be Alexander Graham Bell, whereas others believe it to be Antonio Meucci, Philip Reis or Elisha Gray.

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The bell telephone company later developed the mobile telephone which was used by new york police cars in 1924. The first commercial mobile service was created in 1946, in st louis, missouri but it did not become commonplace until a following four decades.

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Submitted by Sudhakar t

Actually at&t started work on "cells" in 1947 but didn't improve on it until the 1980's leading to today's "cell" phones. The first 2-way radio telephone was envisioned by reginald fessenden, a canadian inventor who began working with thomas edison in 1886. He made a crude radio telephone voice patch in 1900. However, nathan b. Stubblefield beat him to the patent in 1908. Nathan's gadget was more attuned for miner's to communicate up from a cave to a telephone patch verses running a cable into the cave. Ship's where the first to use the next generation for ship to shore telephone patches in 1902 by usa's marconi and britian's george kendall. The nypd used 2-way radios to communicate with a central dispatcher over a "telephone handset" in the radio car not a wire line phone patch to the pot (plain old telephone) system. They didn't need to make phone calls only speak to the dispatcher. The first mobile pot telephone in a car would have been during ww2 by a manually operated radio phone patch usually employed by executive commanders in the field or the potus or president of the usa (look into the nsa's once top-secret sigsaly system used during ww2 for the potus to have a secure top-secret telephone call with a few military ships at sea or the british pm). In 1947 after the war some rich people could have a car phone in where they had to call a central operator to dial the pots number for them. But just like marine ship to shore it dominated the only radio channel until you where done. It wasn't until the mid-60's and late 70's where you could dial the number yourself on your car phone. The first handheld mobile phone was in 1973 by motorola and it almost looked like a huge ww2 walkie-talkie (you can still see some in some recent tv commercials making fun of them). The amazing thing about today's cell phones that most people have no clue about (nor care about) is that they transmit and recieve "full duplex" (i.e. Talk and listen at the same time) on the same frequency at the same time. That is amazing to a electronics or radio engineer as it would have been thought impossible once. Remember the old 1960's british tv show the avengers in where john steed had a mobile telephone in his rolls royce? Also ham radio operators have pioneered the use of pots emergency manual phone patches to their 2-way radios since ww2 era. Now hams do automatic phone patches on their vhf and uhf radio repeaters. They call it an "autopatch". They can make supervised touch-tone controlled pots analog telephone calls on their 2-way radios in full duplex or simplex (i.e. Strict taking turns talking). They could do this commonly since the mid 80's. If you have a police radio scanner you can actually hear them using them today.

Submitted by SpookySr

Billybob says on 20th april 2010
"this info doesn't really help me, I need to know what happened to make the telephone so famous after it was invented"

well billy - the telegraph with its complicated morse code and its costly specially trained male employees on either end was replaced with more efficient voice communications with cheap female labor call routing operators. Those operators where eliminated when rotary dial came out. This left only special routing and 411 operators or dial zero for operator today. Late 19th century business found this to be awesome and more cost savings. No more having a runner run down to the telegraph office to send a written urgent message to a business partner in san francisco. Now you could just pick up the reciever and say "central, central give me new york 459 please." and within seconds you where talking to your business partner in nyc from boston. Sometimes telegraph operators would get the message wrong or could be bribed to send wrong or false information by say a competitor. This self-service method was far superior as the other party could recognize the caller's voice and know the message was authentic. However, audio volume was very low for long distance calls. Shouting was necessary. Residential users didn't take to it right away as it was too expensive to install one in your home. Mark twain was one of the first in hartford ct to install one in his home on farmington ave. But only had a few others to talk to at the time. The most amazing fact was the boston to london trans-atlantic phone call. A ship had to lay thousands of miles of cable across the north atlantic ocean. Today we still do that but with fiber optic cable (and sattelites). Who would have thought that today's blue-tooth earpiece would be all the telephone rage today? It's based on 1960's star trek's lt. Uhuru's ear piece at her communication station.

Submitted by SpookySr

This info doesn't really help me, I need to know what happened to make the telephone so famous after it was invented :?

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