Telephones have become a part of everyday life, not only in the United States, but around the world. There have been many small steps and large leaps in the journey of the telephone from its first inception until now.
- 1860 Alexander Graham Bell is often the one that we associate with the invention of the telephone, however, the spoken word was first transmitted by Philipp Reis through his ‘telephon’.
- 1874 A full fourteen years later, Alexander Graham Bell discovers the principle of the telephone which led to his invention of the telephone that we all learned about in school.
- 1877 Telephone lines had been temporarily strung between locations up to this point.
Realizing that the telephone was now the most modern means of communication, permanent lines began to be strung and paid telephone service became available in the United States.
- 1879 As the number of telephone users grew, it no longer was practical to simply ask to be connected by family name. Telephone numbers began to be used in 1879.
- 1891 The telephone dial was patented in this year. Prior to this time, all phone calls needed by connected by a switchboard operator.
- 1894 The first demonstration of wireless telephone was done by Oliver Lodge when he was able to communicate over a distance of 150 yards.
- 1900 Pay telephones, which are now disappearing, first came on the scene in Connecticut at the turn of the century.
- 1915 Telephone systems on the east coast became connected with telephone systems on the west coast in this year when the first transcontinental phone line was established.
- 1927 The styling of telephones began to change greatly in this year as the use of telephones that held the receiver and the transmitter both in one piece of equipment.
- 1927 Radio wave transmission across the Atlantic from New York to London eliminated the need for underwater cables.
- 1946 Radio waves were used to link telephones in vehicles to the telephone system back in the Forties. It was actually possible to have a ‘car phone’, though it was something widely known or used.
- 1950 The technology to bill telephone customers by minutes used, rather than per call, was established at the beginning of the Fifties.
- 1963 The beeps of the touch tone phone began to replace the rotary dial phones in the Sixties.
- 1972 Almost eighty years after the first wireless phone was demonstrated, Motorola demonstrated their wireless phone to the FCC.
- 1980 Fiber optic networks began to replace the wire telephone networks. This system allowed a much higher traffic flow over one line.
Today, even the landline telephone is becoming endangered as wireless communication and video communication become more accessible, but the foundations that all these new technologies are built on will remain essential for years to come.