Advancement of the Telephone
Advancement of the Telephone
From the time people used sign languages, beating of drums and carrier pigeons, to the latest mobile technology advancement, telephone technology has come to age. The growth and transition of the technological advancement is so aptly pronounced by the following quote of John Brooks (Murphy, 2009):
Lifeline of the lonely and lifeblood of the busy, [it] is taken for
granted, and for good reason…By bringing about a quantum
leap in the speed and ease with which information moves from
place to place, it has greatly accelerated the rate of scientific
and technological change and growth in industry…it impartially disseminates the useful knowledge of
scientists and the babble of bores, the affection of the affectionate and the malice of the malicious…[it] is our nerve end to
Brooks might have wrote this, describing in awe, the stupendous invention ??“ which today may be viewed as a quaint relic of the analog age??“ which was set to revolutionize science, society, business and technology. He may not even have dreamt in his wildest dreams that it was so stunning that many achievements, including radio, motion pictures, television, cellular technology, and computer would grow from it. The telephone remade the world in an entirely new image, and our world today would be unrecognizable to us had the telephone not been invented (Murphy, 2009). It is this advancement of the growth of telephone that would be discussed in following paragraphs.
Events that Led to the Advancement
The start of all this technological advancement maybe credited to the telegraph. And even the telegraph, took almost a century to be made into what we know of it today. From the Visual Telegraph of the Chappe brothers in France developed between the 1780-1820s, to the first Telegraph machine by patented in 1837 by William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone which was later improved and simplified by Samuel Morse along with an accompanying system of communication known as Morse code, the method of instant communication in the western world was growing rapidly and thanks to industrialization they also were growing smaller and more tightly connected.
Alexander Graham Bell, while a music and elocution teacher at a school in England had began to conduct speech and sound experiments that focused on proper vowel-sound creation and resonance and the necessary positioning of the mouth and tongue.During this time, he had chanced upon a book On the Sensations of Tone, by Herman von Helmholtz
which was written in German. Failing to decipher the language properly, he ???misunderstood that Helmholtz had transmitted artificially generated sounds over telegraph wires. This brilliant mistake was destined to lead to a path-breaking invention. During this time, electricity and its use was gaining widespread popularity. There were many eighteenth and nineteenth century scientists and philosophers ??“ the the forerunners to modern scientists, and an emerging group of inventors??“ who were trying to understand how electricity worked. Bell was thus encouraged to try using electricity as a medium for transmitting messages, an idea gained from the German book. In 1875 Alexander Graham Bell was funded by Gardiner Green Hubbard and George Sanders, and employs an assistant, Thomas Watson, beginning work on a variety of experimental telephone-like harmonic telegraph devices. It was at almost the same time Elisha Gray and a number of other inventors were also involved in similar work.
As mentioned by Hounshell (1975), Bell??™s relative lack of specialist knowledge and lesser standing as an electrical inventor also meant he was able to take his research into the ???speaking telegraph??? more seriously than Gray who largely treated the topic as a novelty.
On March 10, 1876, the first telephonic conversation between Bell and Watson happened when Bell spilled sulfuric acid on himself while settling before the transmitter and instinctively shouted into the diaphragm, ???Mr. Watson! Come here. I want you.??? This was the eureka moment in the history of telecommunications!
Evolution of the Advancement
As afore mentioned, the advancement of this technological concept began as a way to increase the use of telegraphs, when Bell accidentally found that electrical signals could carry sound. With the development of telephones, from being a tool of luxury to becoming a necessity, it began to have an impact on just about everyone. Until about 1981 calls were made by telephone exchange operators, until a new system for direct dialing system was introduced. Until then, people living in rural areas in particular used to divide the cost of the line used by using a party line.
In 1927 the first trans-Atlantic call using radio waves was made, making it a historical achievement. The World War that followed saw greater development and advancement in telephone technology and soon wireless telephones began to appear, all thanks to the huge expenditures made by the Defense Department for ensuring safer communication across. It was widely applied in education, health, and other activities. Trans-Atlantic cables were laid during the 60s to aid in long distance international calling. The launch of the first telephone satellite TelStar in 1962 was the biggest shifts seen in the history of telephones. Fiber optic cables were first introduced in 1977 and by the mid 80s, it was the major mode of telephone transmission.
From wired to the wireless models, it was a long journey of technological development. It was in 1973 when Dr. Martin Cooper belonging to Motorola Corporation created the first cellular telephone call using a portable handset, namely the Dyna-Tac (Ahmed, 2010). Today cell phones are dime a dozen and almost everyone use it in place of analogue phones. And finally when internet became popular, the use of telephones to communicate to/ and from a computer was also developed. Voip, which stands for “Voice Over Internet Protocol” is now the most popular means of using the internet to perform telephonic calls.
Effects of Advancement
In the early days, telephone was only seen as a luxury of life rather than a commodity. It only gained more popularity as an essential medium of communication at the time when many corporate and government offices began to use it. With the introduction of the telephone, people could avoid long distance travel and communicate more frequently. It was also an instrument used by Americans to pursue their ends (Fischer, 1994). What the telephone did was ???change social relations, community and culture??? said Fischer (1994, p.21). Kundi et al (2004), talks about the effect of high-frequency EMFs and its health-related presumptions in cancer development. The number of cell phone users has increased rapidly. As of 2010, there were more than 303 million subscribers to cell phone service in the United States, according to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association. Although there have been some concerns that radio-frequency energy from cell phones held closely to the head may affect the brain and other tissues, to date there is no evidence from studies of cells, animals, or humans that radio-frequency energy can cause cancer. (National Cancer Institute Fact Sheet, 2011)
From an accidental beginning to a comprehensive application portfolio, this paper looks at the various stages of the birth, growth and development of telephone technology over the years, how the concerns of its liberal and widespread use on the health of the user and how it has become an important tool in our lives, making the world a smaller place and more interconnected.
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