The evolution of the telephone: a journey through time of the device that changed communication

Every day we make calls and receive messages, but do you know the evolution of the telephone from the moment of its invention? According to expert Pamela Jean, teacher of our online course on Powerful Communication and Social Intelligence, human beings are social beings who must learn to speak and listen. One instrument that accelerated this process was the telephone, one of the most important inventions in the world .

However, have you ever wondered about the evolution of the telephone, or how the first telephone was responsible for communicating people in the 19th century? Actually, the evolution of the telephone has had different stages to reach what it is today. So, if you are a fan of the history of telecommunications, you must know about it.

In today’s article, we will take you with us on a journey through time to learn about the history and evolution of the telephone. We are sure that this adventure will leave you speechless!

ring ring! We’re about to get started.

Invention of the telephone

To understand any story, it is always necessary to start at the beginning and, to understand the evolution of the telephone, it will be no exception.

If we are strict, the first appearance of the “telephone” was seen at the beginning of the 18th century, as a classic game for children of two metal cans and a thread that connected them.Thus, the little ones of that time were able to communicate between doors and thin walls; however, it did not go beyond that until many years later.

Later, in the 19th century, specifically in 1854, the concept of the telephone, properly speaking, appeared. The creator was the Italian Antonio Meucci. This invention was born from the idea of creating a device that could communicate the first and second floor of a house. The problem is that, not having sufficient economic resources, he could not patent the idea as his own. It is for this reason that the origin and evolution of the telephone has a somewhat confusing beginning.

Image: National Geographic History

The inventor who finally got the honor of being listed as the creator of the telephone was Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the device in 1876. Although, it is worth mentioning that the legal dilemmas did not stop.

According to the History portal, the telephone modified by him needed electricity to work and, just by dialing a few numbers, it could communicate with people at a considerable distance. Thus, Bell Telephone Company was the first company to manufacture and distribute telephones to the inhabitants of the United States in 1877.

The evolution of the telephone at the end of the 19th century

With the creation of Bell Telephone Company, sales increased at an unimaginable rate. Imagine, now people could always communicate over long distances – it was a revolution!

However, the evolution of the telephone meant that Alexander Graham Bell licensed five other companies of the time to meet the demand for products.

In this way, in the hands of other large companies, the first large telephone exchange was created in Connecticut in 1878, just 2 years after the official launch of the telephone. Its importance lies in the fact that, every time the person who had the originating call picked up the telephone, an electric switch was activated in the switchboard. In this way, one of the workers answered and asked which line the caller wished to communicate with.

Image: Toreras

It is important to understand that, in the early years of the telephone, to make calls, you had to be a subscriber, so not everyone had the ability to call through the switchboard. there were only 8 lines, which were shared among several subscribers.

Another curious fact about this first switchboard was that its workers had to be very attentive, since they were responsible for hanging up the calls when the subscribers had finished talking. This meant that they had to listen to the conversations until the end. how crazy!

Approximately 10 years later, the first automatic telephone exchanges were created, which allowed calls to be made without human operators and without delays. A clear example that it was not only the evolution of the telephone, but of everything that went with it.

The evolution of the telephone in the 20th century

By the beginning of the 20th century, the United States became the country with the most telephones per person, with a ratio of 1 telephone for every 60 inhabitants. In this way, it surpassed all European countries, which were still taking their first steps in the evolution of the telephone.

Also, as we know, the telephone of before and now are completely different. So, let’s explore the timeline of the evolution of the telephone in the 20th century. Among the main models, we have a few that you’ve definitely seen before:

Candelabra telephone (1920)

This is one of the most well-known models in the history of the telephone, manufactured by the Bell Company. Through this telephone, the classic “wheel” that allowed dialing different numbers began to be implemented. It also had an external wooden box that carried the telephone mechanism and its bells.

Image: Big Ben Antiques

First “classic” telephone (1939)

Almost twenty years later, the first classic telephones appeared, which already had the handset and microphone in a single curved device. The evolution of the telephone also solved the problem of the wooden box, since the entire mechanism was now inside the telephone itself. great progress!

Image: Pexels

Button telephones (1963-1980)

Finally, we have the most modern telephones, which have remained in force over time, although with a number of changes, of course. These devices began to replace the classic roulette wheel used for dialing with buttons for each number. Also, in the 80s, they began to implement features such as the classic voice mailbox or automatic “phone busy” messages.

Image: Pexels

However, the evolution of the telephone does not stop here. Starting in the 1980s, the first cordless phones began to become widespread, as well as the famous cell phones. Today, you can even take self-portraits with your phone. isn’t that amazing! But, we will see that in a future article.

And you, were you surprised to learn all about the origin and evolution of the telephone? we hope you learned a lot today! If you like time travel as much as we do, we suggest you take a look at the history of radio and the history of technology.

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