The History Of The Telephone

We all were taught in the school that the telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell. This is certainly a veritable fact, however, the development of the telephone includes many other people and an array of devices that shaped up the equipment without which we can’t imagine our life today.

History of Telephone- In a Nutshell

From the early acoustic devices to IP phone systems, the telephone travelled a long journey which was helmed by many inventors. The earliest experiments in this field were done back in the 17th century when the British physicist and polymath, Robert Hooke made an acoustic string phone.

The acoustic ‘tin can telephone’ also known as “lover’s phone” remained popular for centuries. It worked on a simple mechanism that involved two diaphragms connected to each other with a string that carried the sound through mechanical vibrations from one end to another.

We all have done DIY experiments using paper cups or metal cans for relaying for sheer fun or to understand science. In many ships and buildings, we still see the usage of speaking tubes that work on quite a similar technology. All these solutions are in a different galaxy compared to the technology of an IP Phone System

In the 19th century, we saw the direct predecessor of today’s telephone which was called the “electrical telegraph”. It was a machine that sent messages in encoded characters that are known as “morse code” using dots and dashes. Like the telephone, the telegraph was also experimented with by many inventors.

Soon enough, the idea of the speaking telegraph gained traction and different inventors started their experiments to materialize this vision. In 1854, Antonio Meucci demonstrated an electric device that was voice-operated.

In 1861, Philipp Reis made the first speech-transmitting telephone. In 1875, Graham Bell demonstrated a telephone that was able to relay voices but not clear speech. In the same year, Thomas Edison took acoustic telegraphy a step ahead and built an electro-dynamic receiver.

In 1875-1876, Bell receives the patent for “transmitters and receivers for electric telegraphs. In 1876, Elisha Gray designed a liquid transmitter to use with a telephone but he didn’t build it. In the same year, Bell received another patent for “telephone”.

The telephone was used to make a 13km long call between Brantford and Paris. In 1977, Bell filed another patent for “electromagnetic telephone using permanent magnets, iron diaphragms, and a call bell” which was granted.

The same year, Edison filed a patent for “a carbon (graphite) transmitter which was granted two years later in 1879. The years 1877 also saw a number of notable events including the rise of the first commercial telephone company “Siemens”, the first telephone exchange in Boston, the invention of the telephone transmitter by Emile Berliner.

In 1878, we see the advancements going further with the establishment of the first permanent telephone connection in the UK, the first commercial telephone exchange and the first commercial toll line in the US. In 1887, TivadasPuskas, known for the invention of the telephone exchange, introduced the multiplex switchboard.

In the year 1915, the first coast-to-coast long-distance telephone call was made and in 1927, the first transatlantic phone call was done from the US to the UK. We also find a lot of disputes and litigations by inventors for the credit of their work.

So now you know that the Telephone is a result of collaborative work done by many inventors, and we are now into the future with IP Phones Systems that would never have been dreamt about.

Scroll to Top