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Who invented the telephone?

The telephone is one of the main tools that allowed humanity to shape the modern world as we know it.

It is the architect of large corporations and the device by which companies around the world quickly expanded by doing business in an agile way regardless of the distance that separated them from their customers and suppliers.

What will you find here? Who was the inventor of the telephone? How, where and when did it happen? The first telephone set and the first call. The subsequent evolution.

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The phone has changed little and nothing, saving aesthetics and options, its operation remains practically the same, that is, we dial a number, and the person to whom it corresponds answers. In this post we will find the history of the telephone and its evolution to this day.

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In what year was the telephone invented?

The origin of the telephone dates back to 1854, when Antonio Meucci designed and built a device, based on an idea he had had when experimenting with a medical technique, as we can see below in more detail, in order to be able to communicate with his wife , prostrate on the top floor of her house.

Over time, he came to the conclusion that his invention could be very profitable, which is why he started on the hazardous path of patenting his invention, which he called “Teletrófono”. Meucci made several public appearances where the voice of a singer was even broadcast.

Unfortunately, he was unable to obtain funding to further develop or patent his invention, a fact that was taken advantage of by Alexander Bell, who after a confusing curtain of corruption and cheating, managed to patent the phone as if it were his invention. 

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This opened years later a heated debate to know exactly who was the true inventor of the telephone , a question to which we will try to give an answer below these lines.

Who invented the telephone?

Most people believe that the inventor of the telephone was the Scotsman Alexander Graham Bell, which is not true. The American Congress, in 2002, in resolution 269, recognized that the official inventor of the telephone was the Italian Antonio Meucci, who in 1860 had already described the device in an Italian-language newspaper in New York under the name of “Teletrophone” .

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Antonio Meucci  had a life with several activities, one of them was medicine, in which the Italian treated patients with small shocks. One time, Meucci had placed an electrode connected to a copper wire in the mouth of a patient and when he went to connect the device in another room, he heard the sound of the patient’s moaning, he saw that the voice could be propagated by electrical signals.

To develop his invention, Meucci moved to a city near New York, where he set up a candle factory and with the money he earned, he perfected his prototype telephone. The novelty was a great success at the time, mainly for the Italian colony in the United States. 

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Despite the success of the invention, Meucci did not obtain investors or anyone who decides to bet on his idea because they did not see the usefulness of a “talking telegraph.”

Going through various health and financial problems, Meucci didn’t even have the money for the $ 250 he needed to patent his invention. The patent was made by Graham Bell, who took all the glory of being the inventor of the telephone for many years.

Meucci went to court several times against Graham Bell, however when he was close to achieving an end of the story in the Supreme Court, he died, burying the case and automatically, Graham Bell was left with the fame and the millions that the invention generated .

Elisha Gray was another of the inventors fighting for patents on the telephone set. In several legal confrontations, Gray and Bell came into direct conflict, and Bell eventually received the patent. In 1880, Gray became a professor of dynamic electricity at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio.

The injustice was only resolved when an American politician from the Italian community asked the US Congress to correct the case, in June 2002.

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The first phone

The first phone for which information is available was the one developed by the Italian Meucci, as mentioned above. The aforementioned device basically had two trunks of cardboard cones, which at their base had a membranous diaphragm. These cones were linked together by a copper wire. With this rudimentary artifact, he was able to establish stable and understandable communication with a room located in a house on the sidewalk across from Meucci’s property.

The telephone invented by Meucci used the principle of variable resistance, a concept that was later taken up years later.

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What was the first phone conversation?

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made the world’s first telephone conversation

“Mr. Watson,” Alexander Graham Bell said into the microphone, “come here, I want to see you . ” Bell’s collaborator Thomas Watson heard the words in another room over the earpiece. And the world’s first phone call was completed.

Alexander Graham Bell was born into a family fascinated by sound. His grandfather was extremely interested in speech disorders. His father devised a method to teach the deaf to speak and his mother, a deaf woman who learned to play the piano,

In June, Bell displayed his invention at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. At that moment, the emperor Don Pedro of Brazil shouted “My God, speak” , when he heard Graham Bell recite Hamlet’s soliloquy “To be or not to be” over the phone.

Telephone evolution

We mentioned above that the phone has undergone few drastic changes since its invention, at least when it comes to how it works. The true evolution of the phone is in the network systems, the added features and the quality of communications that have been achieved by polishing its design.

The evolution of electronics has a lot to do with this, too, with the arrival of integrated circuits and their miniaturization, which made it possible to include in the telephone technologies never seen before in such a simple operating device, such as the possibility of storing numbers for to be able to mark them with a single press of a special key, which was possible thanks to the incorporation of the DTMF (Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency) system, which we will talk about later in this post.

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Some of the features that over the years have been added to the phone to improve it until we obtain the device we know today, we can mention, for example, the inclusion of a carbon microphone, with which a much better quality and volume was obtained. in communications, which obviously meant that the communications established through the telephone could be made at greater distances with better quality.

The carbon microphone of the telephone over the years was replaced by microphones of the “electret” type , which is basically a condenser microphone, a type of microphone that is used in many audio applications where a high quality standard is needed. Replacing the carbon microphone with an electret on the phone was a decisive step, as it allowed the audio to be much higher quality.

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Another feature that allowed telephones to become the most widely used communication medium in the world, although it is found on the device itself, it depends on a complex external system.

This is the DTMF system ((Dual-Tone Multi-Frequency), which in Spanish means “ Multi -Tone Multi-Frequency ”, a dialing system developed in the early 1960s that replaced the pulse dialing system. say to the old rotary dial of the telephones. This dialing system consists of a keyboard which when pressing any of its keys emits a signal in two tones, which is later interpreted in the telephone exchange, returning the pertinent request, which can be a subscriber or a so-called “added value” service.

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Thanks to DTMF we can make use of a variety of services such as entering a password or the number of an account in an automated banking system, accessing the telephone messages stored in the central, and many other services that the operator or the system can provide us. which we access by phone.

Another advantage of the DTMF dialing system is the speed with which communications are established between our telephone and the central, much faster than with the pulse dialing system, which, depending on a mechanical system, was slower and much faster. more prone to errors.

Also at this point it is necessary to emphasize that telephone exchanges have changed over time, slowly turning from analog to digital, in order to be able to provide DTMF services to their customers, for example.

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Other features added to the telephone over the years have been, for example, noise cancellation systems, memories, screens, ports to connect them to computers, and the possibility of operating the telephone with more than one line, among many other advantages.

Cellphones

The origin of cell phones dates back practically to the 1940s, when they began to use telephone equipment that was linked to their respective bases by radio waves, first in the amplitude modulated frequencies (AM) and with the passing of time. time modulated frequencies (FM), which gave the service a greater range and quality.

Despite the impressive innovation that being able to have a mobile phone meant, consumer response was rather tepid, primarily due to the size and weight of these phones. To get a clear idea of ​​how uncomfortable these mobile phone sets were, suffice it to say that they had to be mounted in the trunk of a car.

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Another point against so that the general public did not quickly adopt such fascinating technology was the price of these mobile phones, which scared away the majority, so they were relegated to use by important people with great purchasing power.

However, this type of equipment remained practically unchanged until well into the 1980s, when technological maturity was finally reached that allowed the creation of truly portable mobile telephone equipment that could be available to all consumers.

The first cell phone

It could be said that the architect that perhaps at this precise moment we are consulting this material on a mobile phone is Martín Cooper, considered the father of cell phones, and that he was the developer of the first radio phone between 1970 and 1973.

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In this sense, we must consider the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X as the first cell phone in history, launched on the market in the early 80’s. The technical characteristics of this model differ greatly from the current ones, since it weighed 780 grams. and it was approximately 13 “x 9 x 4.5 cm”, it was analog and of course it did not provide any of the services we are used to today.

Even its autonomy was quite limited, since with this DynaTAC 8000X it was approximately 1 hour. The price of this first cell phone was US $ 3,995, which although it was far from the value of cell phones that were installed in car trunks, it was still quite a high price, so it was mostly used by executives and other people with high purchasing power.

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After this first model, phones were getting smaller and more powerful and useful, until they reached smartphones. If you want to know in greater detail the evolution of the cell phone and the generations of communication, do not hesitate to click on this link, where you will find abundant information on the subject.

How a cell phone works

Today, cell phones work using radio waves instead of fixed cables like standard or fixed telephony does. This obviously allows you to be mobile. To achieve this mobility, the cell phone retransmits the communication with an antenna, which is picked up by a base that transmits it again at higher power and therefore further.

The current transmission system used by cell phones allows a wide variety of types of communication, from a conventional call to the possibility of sending text, video, audio messages or even accessing the Internet, all through a simple telephone line. .

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To ensure that cell phones are always connected, large antennas are used so that they can cover a wide geographical area. These antennas, called “Towers” or “Base Station”, cover a circular area, which is called “Cell”.

That is why several antennas are used to cover very wide regions. The fact that these towers or base stations are always close to cell phones means that less power will also be needed to transmit the signal, which translates into a smaller battery, and therefore a much smaller cell phone.

Technically, the method used by the cell phone system to operate is as follows: When we start a call with the phone, it locates the base station or tower that provides the strongest radio signal, connects and requests a communication channel . When the base station or tower grants you permission to use it, the call starts.

This call is then sent to the landline or mobile phone network, as the case may be.

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The massification of smartphones

Undoubtedly, the arrival of smartphones, also known as smartphones , generated a true revolution in relation to communications, since they achieved the massification of these devices, allowing almost everyone in the world to access a capable tool to allow them to communicate on a global level .

Of course, for this it was also necessary for the internet to be present in all corners of the world , and also to become an element of our daily lives, as it is today, since smartphones and the internet go totally hand in hand. .

If we review the main characteristics of smartphones or smart phones, we must in principle emphasize that these devices have multiple functions that allow users to not only make traditional phone calls, but also a huge variety of tasks and processes.

For this reason, although we can consider that a smartphone is ultimately a cell phone, since it is far from a landline phone, the truth is that its almost infinite possibilities make it a device that has not only been created for communication . Based on this, the first cell phone is not considered the first smart phone, so it is considered that the first smart phone was “Simon”, a phone that was developed by the IBM company in 1992. This equipment also included of the communication capacity, a series of extra functions that made it seem like a computer .

It was not long after that that touchscreens began to abound in the field of smartphone designs , while the development of software for smartphones, which is another of the main components of smartphones , was fully exploited .

In this way, little by little the applications that users could install and enjoy on our smartphone became the big stars of this device, even more so when the possibility of connecting these computers to the internet became an element that added a huge added value to the possibilities that cell phones had until now.

Nowadays, smartphones have become an essential tool , which allows us not only to be communicated in the old way, but also provides us with a huge variety of functionalities that in many cases have even made the smartphone or smartphone replace the computer. .

Of course, for this, we must bear in mind that one of the central aspects has been the incorporation of software into old cell phones.

Smartphone software

As we have mentioned, smartphones or smartphones have stood out from the rest of the communication devices due to the fact that they include a wide variety of options for users . In this way, whoever uses a smartphone, in addition to being able to communicate, has all kinds of software tools to carry out different tasks from the smartphone .

Of course, this has required the development of specific software created especially for smartphones , such as Google’s Android operating system , which today has the largest share of the smartphone market.

However, if we roughly review the history of smartphone software development, we can infer that one of the first was Palm OS, which was released in 1996 . Among other things, this system included very valuable tools for users that until now were not available on cell phones , such as the management of calendars and agendas.

The Palm operating system was installed in PDA personal data assistance devices and due to the success they achieved in the market, different companies began to launch various similar devices that always offered something more than their competitor, as was the case with Blackberry.

Here the race to be the leader of the smartphone market led to an unstoppable and rapid evolution of the equipment that was known until now . Precisely, with the operating system of the Blackberry smartphones, the possibility of sending and receiving e-mails through the telephone as a remote device was incorporated .

It was shortly after that the Microsoft giant surpassed the developments that had been so far, launching the Windows CE smartphone software , which among its main features included the possibility that users could have access to mobile versions of Microsoft Office . In this way, users with their smartphone could not only communicate and perform some basic tasks such as sending and receiving mail or managing their agendas, but also the possibility of having advanced data processing capabilities on the phone .

From then on, there was a great revolution in communications, as smartphones became increasingly intelligent, especially with the incorporation of the possibility of internet connectivity . This is how the Android smartphone operating systems from Google and Apple’s iOS emerged , which today are among the software with the largest share in the market.

This gave rise to the furor in the development of applications for smartphones, which allowed them to expand their functionalities to incredible limits , and the best thing is that there are no borders for these developments. Today on our smartphone we can carry out any type of task just by having the appropriate application for it.

In addition to being able to communicate in the traditional way, a current smartphone gives us the possibility of having an office, an efficient means of communication, an entertainment center, a shopping center, among other things , always in our pocket, to use in any time and place we need it.

Smartphone security

On a smartphone we can carry out all the activities and processes that we mentioned, but also almost without worrying about security, since most smartphones have specific tools to keep user data protected , through the encryption method. Even in the last decade they have included authentication methods to access the use of the phone.

Even in many cases, current cell phones include the feature of secure communications through voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) technology, about which you can find a large amount of information in the article referring to this technology, in this link .

What is a USB Phone?

If we are users who usually use Skype or other VoIP systems over the Internet, surely we have already realized that sometimes this is usually uncomfortable, since we must always stay near the PC to be able to do so, because we have to use tools such as microphones and headphones or speakers, which are physically attached to the computer through their respective ports.

However, it should not always be this way, since to make our lives more comfortable, we can also make calls through VoIP using a type of telephone specially created for internet telephony:  the USB telephone.

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This type of telephones was created for those people who are not satisfied with the sound quality or the comfort of the calls made through the microphone and the earpiece or speakers. Thanks to these USB phones it is possible to make and receive calls directly from the device,  not being necessary to use other audio devices, with all the advantages that this entails.

Wireless USB Phones

But in addition to USB phones, we also have the ability to make VoIP calls using a wireless USB phone, meaning that it does not use cables to link with the computer. This advantage offered by this type of device guarantees us total freedom of movement when making calls, with which we can move wherever we want without interrupting the conversation.

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Wireless USB phones are basically similar to cell phones, since we can take them with us to any place in the house or office without any problem, which guarantees optimal mobility. This type of telephone also allows teleconference calls.

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However, as these types of USB phones are connected directly to the PC through the USB port to work, the computer must always be on, and in the event of a power failure, the call will be lost.

USB phone types

Basically, the principle of operation of USB phones is the same, because they are based on VoIP communication technology. The biggest difference between the types of USB phones is found in the features that each of them offers, with the hardware-based USB phone being the most widely used, despite its high cost.

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This is basically a phone with normal appearance and operation, but inside it houses the technology and electronics necessary to connect to the data network, counting on a network port to share the network connection with the computer, with the so that you do not have to have a specific network port for this task.

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