The history of the Telephone



Pictured above; Alexander Graham Bell


In a telephone, speech is changed into electrical impulses by means of a microphone. The 'Electric Speaking Telephone' was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876. The microphone and receiver were identical and consisted of a magnet surrounded by a solenoid placed close to an iron membrane. The first words Bell spoke on his telephone to his assistant; "Mr Watson, come here, I want you!"  Just two hours after Bell had patented his telephone, Elisha Gray filed a patent for a slightly different telephone. Grey tried to sue Bell but the United States courts declared that Bell was the inventor of the telephone. It has since been proven that Bells original patent would not have worked while Grays design would have. Development, improvement and use of the telephone was rapid. The first commercial telephone exchange opened in New Haven, Connecticut in the United States in 1878, while a year later the first telephone system in London was opened.

Due to telephone exchanges requiring great manpower to switch the lines through several attempts were made to produce an automatic system. The first successful automatic system was invented by Almon Strowger, who was an undertaker from Kansas City, in 1889. He decided to invent the system as the competing undertaker in the city had a wife working at the local telephone exchange, he was frustrated by calls placed through to the competition when they were supposed to go to him. Many country's still rely on telephone exchanges based on his ideas.

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Did You Know?

Just two hours after Alexander Graham Bell had patented his telephone, Elisha Gray filed a patent for a slightly different design.



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