The Invention and Evolution of the Telephone Throughout History

When it comes to the evolution of technology, there is no doubt that the evolution of the telephone is one of the greatest. The first telephone ever invented was in 1876, march 10th and the creator was Alexander Graham Bell. Today Alexander’s invention has evolved into the Iphone 7 and the Galaxy S7, but to see the whole picture one must see the whole process. Starting with the first change to the telephone was by Alexander Bell again and in 1892 when he introduced the first desk top phone called the candlestick telephone.

This was a huge improvement over the wall models and Bell understood the need for innovation because this was now one year before his first telephone patent was going to expire and when it did competition would flood in. Shortly after, the rotary phone became popular.

The first patent for the rotary dial was by Almon Brown Strowger in 1892 on November 29th, the construction was one of the main things that made the rotary phone so popular.

A rotary dial typically features a circular construction. With 10 small holes to show the numbers 0-9 it was something very new at the time.As push-button phones gained popularity in the 1960s and ’70s, the rotary dial phone died out. A major company that propelled the innovation telephone was The Bell Telephone Company it was organized in Boston, Massachusetts on July 9, 1877, by Alexander Graham Bell’s father in law. His name was Gardiner Greene Hubbard and he also owned a telephone company and soon after the two companies merged.

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Still to this Bell is one of the largest telephone/internet companies.  Bell Telephone introduced the first commercial push-button telephone on November 18, 1963. It was test and installed first in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. The push-button telephone was only one part of the system that completed the modern telephone. One other major part was making the signals sent down the wire after the buttons were pushed automatic.

Also, in 1963, AT&T introduced Touch-Tone, which allowed phones to use a keypad to dial numbers and make phone calls. It filled the gap push-button phones were missing. Without ATA&T’s touch tone calling would be much more complicated. The push-button telephone was a huge improvement on the the rotary phone and made a great impact in the 60s. Straying away from the telephone itself comes the answering machine which is essential with telephones. The answering machine transformed phone , allowing callers to leave a message if no one was on the other end. This was not very popular until the 1960s, these phone accessories originally used cassette tapes to record messages. Valdemar Poulsen, the Danish telephone engineer and inventor, patented what was called a telegraphone in 1898. Mr. Willy Müller invented the first automatic answering machine in 1935 and in the 1960 the answering machine was in every household with a telephone. The first really big innovation was the Portable phone. Portable, or cordless, phones were the phone equivalent of the TV remote.

While at Motorola in the 1970s, Martin Cooper invented the first handheld mobile phone in 1973 and led his team that developed it and brought it to market in 1983. On April 3, 1973 Cooper and Mitchell demonstrated two working phones in a scheduled press conference at the New York. Standing on Sixth avenue near the Hilton, Cooper made the first handheld cellular phone call in public from the prototype DynaTAC.  Further continuing with the portable phones, the Motorola DynaTAC was the first really widespread one. Released in 1984, the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was the first commercially available mobile phone. In 1973, Martin Cooper made the first cell phone call ever this device. At 1.80 pounds, this revolutionary phone had 30 minutes of talk time and cost of $3,995! The next really predecessor of the Motorola was the Nokia 5110.

One of many classic Nokia candybar-style phones, the Nokia 5110 was rugged and had a long battery life.It was one of the first mobile telephones with a replaceable faceplate. Which at the time was very new and made the phone last even longer. Again to stray away from the actually phone itself and more of an accessory comes caller ID. Until 1968 one would have to memorize or write down all the numbers for friends and family. Theodore George Paraskevakos, while working in Athens, Greece as a communications engineer for SITA, began developing a system to automatically identify a telephone caller to a call recipient. This would revolutionize the telephone and make it much user friendly and also much easier to call. Even to this day caller ID is used and will probably be used for ever as it lets the user identify who is called them. The Motorola StarTAC was the first successful flip phone, and in many ways, the first successful consumer cell phone. Introduced in 1996, Motorola eventually sold 60 million StarTACs. Weighing in at just 3.1 ounces, and combined with its innovative design, the StarTAC was a milestone in the trend toward smaller and smaller cell phones.

During its initial launch, magazine ads for the phone would include an actual size cardboard cutout that could be pulled from the page to demonstrate the real size of the device. The next few years came with good news and promised more innovations to the telephone. The Palm Treo became one of the very early first smart phones and was very similar to the blackberry, its main competition. It was released in June 2009 but it quickly became obsolete. The sort of final filip phone/ non touchscreen phone was the blackberry it was by far the leading smartphone manufacturer in the 2000s. It had advanced messaging for the time and was considered the standard for all business purposes. Until just the like motorola StarTAC and Palm it became obsolete because of the iphone and android new touch screen devices. The Iphone and Android phones were the biggest revolutionary changes in the telephone innovation.

The iPhone is the first smartphone model designed and marketed by Apple. It is the first generation of iPhone that was announced on January 9, 2007. It was so revolutionary at the time time because it was one of the first touch screen iphones to ever be released, it came with a steep price tag and became a status symbol. It had the version of IOS and quickly set the standard for smart phones. While the first android phone was HTC Dream with the android operating system, it was released in september 2008. While the Dream was praised for its solid and robust hardware design, the introduction of the Android operating system was met with criticism for its lack of certain functionality. This is the reason that Apple’s Iphone outsold the HCT Dream by a lot and set up the Iphone as the best smart phone. This really marks the end of the history and evolution of smartphones. In today’s day their are so many smartphones to choose from. These include the Iphones, Samsung Galexys, Google Pixels, Nexus’s, LGs, and many, many more to chose from. Many have predicted the future of smartphones as completely wireless charging and listening, which is already being done today. Overall, the evolution of technology is very interesting but specifically the evolution of the telephone is remarkable. Form Alexander Bell’s first telephone to today’s Iphones telephones are always evolving and improving.

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The Invention and Evolution of the Telephone Throughout History. (2022, Jul 26). Retrieved from

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