We have come to depend on the telephone so much, even though it is not as much as mobile phones that today we cannot imagine how our lives would be without it.
The telephone is a device that allows people to communicate with each other through transmitting and receiving sound (one type of sound, the most common being speech).
It is operated through electric signals that make up a complicated network, which connects every telephone with each other. this allows anyone to call anyone at anytime.
The headset of the telephone has a microphone (to transmit sound) and a receiver. The microphone works when we are speaking, and the receiver when we are listening.
Many believe that Alexander Graham Bell was the inventor of the telephone. While he perhaps contributed to it the most, and legally holds the licence for its invention, many other inventors played large and small roles in its creation.
The person who gave Bell the biggest challenge was Elisha Gray who had also designed a device very similar to Bell’s telephone. They both applied for the licence on the same day, just hours apart in 1876.
The reason that Bell won (was given the licence instead of Gray) was because he reached the office earlier than Gray. Antonio Meucci and Johann Philipp Reis contributed to the phone’s success too.
Robert Hooke invented the first ever known instrument connected to the telephone in 1667. He made a device that was able to transmit the sounds of mechanical vibrations over a wire.
Then almost a century later, Charles Morrison said that instead of mechanical vibrations electricity could be used to transmit sounds over a wire. This was in 1753.
Michael Faraday’s work with the vibrations of metal and their conversion into electrical impulse way back in 1831 set the foundation for the invention of the telephone.
It took almost another century before Innocenzo Manzetti suggested the “speaking telegraph” (or the telephone).
The main areas that influenced the telephone were breakthroughs in the transmission of the electrical impulse and the invention of the telegraph.
In fact, Bell’s success with the telephone was because he began by trying to improve the telegraph.
In 1861, Johann Philipp Reis was the first to build a device that was successfully able to change sounds to electronic signals and the signals back to sound again.
In December 1871, Antonio Meucci was granted the license for a device called the “sound telegraph” which could allow two people to communicate through a wire.
He renewed the licence for two years but by 1874, he did not have enough money to renew it anymore and it was legally dropped.
However, the history of the telephone is not as simple as it looks. Many historians believe that its history is shadowed by many messy lawsuits by its various inventors.
The work of Tivadar Puskas who invented the telephone switchboard exchange in 1876, and Thomas Edison who invented the carbon microphone that could produce a telephone signal helped to improve the technology of the telephone.
The first words that were spoken over the telephone were by Alexander Graham Bell to his faithful assistant Watson in 1876. He said, “Come here Mr Watson, I want to see you!”
The design of the telephone has gone through many changes over the centuries, as has its technology.
By the 20th century, the cordless phone and the cellular phone replaced the concept of a telephone with its dial pad and receiver.
Today, we are in the 21st century and technology is constantly improving and pushing boundaries to bring us convenient ways of communicating with each other.