Communication Technology: Remembering The Story Of The Telephone

Since the beginning of recorded history, technology has improved communication. At first, we wrote on stone. Paper and pen followed. Then came the printing press. After books and newspapers spread ideas far and wide, telephones, radios, and televisions rose to the scene. Today, the Internet allows us to communicate through a variety of devices. 

Nowadays, communication is fast. You can talk to someone on another continent as easily as you can talk to a neighbor across the fence. The speed of the message can change the destiny of an entire country. A dramatic political or economic message can spread hope or fear like wildfire.

Today nothing can match the speed, ease, and impact of the Internet.

You can send messages back and forth through email. You can chat on instant messengers. You can take webinar-based classes. And you can run an international business using video conferencing.

Interestingly enough, the Internet has not made the telephone obsolete, but has enhanced it. Spoken communication still thrives on the Internet. You can even make inexpensive long-distance telephone calls using Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

Since the Internet is new, we can remember how it evolved. But it’s hard to say the same for the telephone. Since it emerged a long time ago, most of us have forgotten its remarkable story

The Story of the Telephone

“Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you,” said, Alexander Graham Bell on March 10, 1876. That simple sentence changed history. Although credited with the invention, Bell may have just been the first person to patent it. Others appear to have invented it. We rarely, if ever, hear about the contributions made by Elisha Gray, Antonio Meucci, or Innocenzo Manzetti.

Since its invention, the telephone has changed beyond anything its inventors would have recognized.

The Candlestick 

The Candlestick model was popular from the 1890s all the way to the 1930s. You placed the receiver by your ear and spoke into a mouthpiece. After the 1930s, both the receiver and speaker fused into a single unit.

The Rotary

The Rotary model required you to rotate the flexible dial, stop at a number, and then release. You would go through each number in this way. You would hear the phone ring after you had dialed a person’s complete telephone number.

The Touch Tone

The Touch Tone model, invented by AT&T, replaced the tedious dial phone. Now instead of dialing a number, you pushed buttons on a panel. Once you had pushed all the buttons of a person’s telephone number, it would connect you.

The Portable phone

These cordless telephones began in the 1980s. They served as a convenience. People regarded it in as much awe as the way we now marvel at the WiFi devices that make cumbersome wires obsolete. With a cordless phone, you could talk from anywhere in a room. You no longer had to stand near the wall with the telephone extension.

Mobile phones

Martin Cooper invented the firs cell phone in 1973. While it worked, there were complications. It weighed 1.75 lbs. You could only talk for a half hour. And it cost $3,995. Motorola solved these problems in 1984 when it invented the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. They made the cell phone a commercially viable idea.

Cell phones to smart phones

Each version of the cell phone became remarkably better. Here is a brief list of some groundbreaking models:

·  Nokia_5110

·  Motorola StarTAC

·  Sanyo SCP–5300

·  Palm Treo

·  Motorola RAZR

·  BlackBerry

·  iPhone and Android

 The Answering machine and Caller Ids

The answering machine became popular in the 1960s. They evolved from tiny miniature cassette tapes into digital answering machines. We we now call them voicemail.

The next big wave in telephone accessories came with the invention of Caller ID. Although invented in the 1970s, it only became popular a decade later. Now it is no longer necessary to remember people’s numbers because your phone can do it for you. Perhaps, the element people appreciated most was the ability to recognize the caller. The bane of telemarketers and debt collection agencies, it removed the element of surprise.

Personal and Business Transformation

The telephone has transformed our personal and business lives. Parents can keep in touch with their children. Family and friends can talk to each other, regardless of distance. People can dial for business services. Today, businesses around the world rely on an office phone system, which should include easy integration with an IT infrastructure, to improve their bottom line. 

And today, individuals rely on the smartphone, which is actually a pocket-sized computer, as their personal life organizer.  Although taken for granted, the telephone is one of the wonders of the world.

© News Service

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