The History and Impact of the Telephone in America

A lot of inventions that were developed in the late 1800’s changed the life of the Americans. The most life changing was the telephone. This invention improved communication between people near and far. It remodeled the business world and created thousands of jobs, including for women. One of the most successful and useful inventions that was developed in the last century is the telephone. The first practical telephone was actually invented independently by two men working in the United States, Elisha Gray and Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell.

The experiment had taken place at the New York patent office on February 14, 1876. Both men were racing to finish the invention first. Finally Bell beat Gray with only two hours difference.According to the famous story, the first fully intelligible telephone call occurred on March 6, 1876, when Bell, in one room, called to his assistant in another room. ”Come here, Watson, I want you”1. The telephone was a device that consists ofa system which converts sound, specifically the human voice, to electrical impulses of various frequencies and then back to a tone that sounds like the original voice.

With that discovery, Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas Watson had completed the most life changing machine that improved the American life and the society of the whole world. The main idea that Graham Bell had, was to allow everyone, including the poor, to have communication ability the use through of the telephone. In the beginning, telephone communication broughtpeople closer together with a lot of long distance calls and more often by businesses.

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The first telephone station in America was in Hartford, Connecticut in 1877. The first exchange linking two major cities was established between New York and Boston in 18834. Before that people communicated long distances via messenger and mail, and only the important messages were able to be sent. Even those messages were delivered very slowly and a lot more expensive. When the first telephone station was created, there was only one telephone in the (village or city) and those were hosted to a public house, and it was open for everybody and only for an important reason at the beginning. The creation of the telephone was the first major improvement in society. When technology started to improve more, businesses and public services started the consumption of the telephone. The first public service to consume the telephone was the Postal service, which now can communicate better and faster. The improved postal service transformed society.

After that a lot of other businesses started to use the telephone. In thefollowing years, almost all the states in the U.S. were using the telephone service, sometimes by public means or by a private phone line that was developed. The telephone got famous quickly in Europe. The first exchange outside the United States was built in London in 18795. Finally the telephone started to get very famous and very popular all over the world, because it was a small machine that you could communicate easy to someone far away. The most valuable reason to use the phone was that it was almost inexpensive to use. That’s why we consider the telephone to be one of the most important discoveriesin the whole World, by an American that wanted to help communication in society and it has improved to the way we see it today. In the beginning, this invention was not as popular as it currently is because it was not common and affordable. At first, like most new technology, the telephone could only be afforded by the rich. As technology increased, the only access people had to a phone was by using a pay phone in the local store. Even then, it was in high demand. Since then a lot has changed. The use of the telephone has increased exponentially and has become a part of everyday life. Based on a survey by an American newspaper there were 3819 subscribers alone and in 1994 to 1995 it grew to 290,159 subscribers. This shows how the popularity of the usage of the phone has grownto become what it is today. Then, the inventors, and phone companies, saw that the telephone still was not as popular as it could be. They tried to remake a more comfortable version of it so it could become more approachable and inexpensive to the common people.To make the telephone usage less expensive, coin operated and metered telephones were introduced, as well as the party line, in which numerous households were connected to the same line.

The largest impact of the telephone was on the effect on rural life. An interesting fact about the American life in the farms was that the party line was used everywhere, but it had the greatest effect on the isolated farms. The advantage to this was communication and it reduced the loneliness for the farmer’s w ife?. The party line was the first conference call that farmers could hold meetings around a specific day and time. The telephone also provided security and helped in emergency situations despite the isolation. It worked like a security system to the people that lived away from the city in farms and small villages. Because they were alone, they had their mind at ease that they could call someone in an emergency situation and that made them feel safe. That was a huge advantage to American society.It connected all the places together, from big cities to very small villages and that helped the expansion of businesses and the communication between people. At the time that American Industrialization was in a high point, new systems and new lines started to spread everywhere. The businesses started to take full advantage of the telephone system.

Business owners were able to use the telephone to place orders for raw materials and solicit new business, making their businesses more profitable. The telephone also helped improve efficiency for many organizations. Workers were able to call each other to discuss projects instead of having to waste time walking from one office to another. Employees did not have to travel as much because they could call their customers and colleagues on the telephone. And that helped the corporations to expand and save time for the workers to complete more efficient and valuable work. That means more time left for work to be done. The telephone lead to the development of city centers, office buildings and the concept of an urban worker society. It has also lead to the creation and destruction of jobs. The need for positions such as messenger boys, telegraphers and, ironically, operators, became virtually unnecessary. The changed pace of business made the world smaller and more accessible to all. The telephone was a big change and had become a bigasset to the business world to make it more efficient and wealthy. The next step, after the progression of businesses, was a system of emergency by telephone. The mobile telephone that was invented by the Bell Telephone Company, was introduced to the New York City police cars in 1924, although the first commercial mobile telephone service beganin St. Louis, Missouri in 1946.

With this new development the police men now could communicate between them. Eventually the outcome of that system was to reduce crime. Finally, suspicious looking strangers were scared away from houses that displayed telephone based alarm systems. People who needed help could call fire trucks, doctors or police. Which also is a factor of improvement in society.Before the telephone invention, the crime in the cities had reached its zenith, and when the telephone came out people were so impressed. The telephone companies sold thousands of telephones to individuals and businesses 10 Nowhere has the impact of the telephone been more dramatic than in the area of writing and teaching. Because of the hyperbolic use of the telephone in the last few years, it created a generation that has a strong sense for listening to the spoken words and into a group audience just as reading written or printed texts turns individuals in on themselves”. Today it is much easier to use a telephone to communicate information for a business deal or an idea. The telephone is more spontaneous and an efficient way to access information than writing or reading. Telephone eliminates travel time and provides the instant gratification one gets from a direct response to one’s communication. It is much easier to phone an expert to get information on a certain topic than to read a textbook.

So if people start to use the telephone more than they need and they do not write, they could start to forget how to write, but their senses have to concentrate to the listening and reading. It is a great accomplishment that the telephone is a very simple device to be used even by those who do not know how to read or write. During the 1960’s telephone based teaching or tele teaching gained popularity among elementary and secondary schools. This was developed for students that would not participate inschool, and would help them to not miss any lessons when they came back to school. One important impact of the telephone to society was the new jobs that were developed only for women. The telephone companies was one of the first companies to hire women employees. At one time, phone companies hired boys to serve as switchboard operators. The boys were eventually replaced by women because the women were faster and more polite. In 1910, New York Telephone employed 6,000 female switchboard operators13. Without the telephone, thousands of women would not have had the opportunity to work and that is a beginning to the Feminist party in the U.S.A. The telephone has made communication more efficient and faster since it was first developed, ithas transformed society’s social behavior by changing the way we communicate with each other. It changespeople’s ideas about how communication should be. Old ideas of communication that were so uncomfortable were removed. It also recreated a whole new system of jobs, new methods of working and emergency conditions. The most life changing idea that remodeled the thinking that women could work the same as men. These are a few reasons why the telephone is one of the most important inventions of the late 1800’s, which revolutionized the life of society.

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The History and Impact of the Telephone in America. (2022, Jul 26). Retrieved from

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