The Telephone and How It Has Altered Human Life
Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray both created devices for the purpose of transmitting speech electrically in the 1870s. However, Bell’s telephone was patented first, and he became known as the inventor of this helpful device. Over the years, this invention has undergone several transformations and is now so commonplace that countless individuals carry one around with them all day every day. What are some of the most helpful features of the telephone that have become so common humans can’t imagine a life without them?
Personal Phone Numbers
What most men and women don’t know is that early telephones were leased to subscribers. For example, if a mother wanted to talk to her son, they would have to connect their phone lines. It wasn’t until 1889 that Almon B. Strowger developed a switch that would allow one line to be connected to any of 100. This was the first telephone exchange. Over the years, people began making use of party lines and, today, a phone subscriber has a personal number. When someone makes use of this number, they are directly connected to the individual and nobody else.
Children today will never know the pleasure of stopping at a payphone booth to see if any change has been unintentionally left behind. William Gray of Hartford, Connecticut, patented the first coin-operated phone in 1889. At one time, phones would only work when connected to a line in the wall of a building. Rotary dial phones were everywhere a few decades ago, and now teenagers don’t understand how they work. Cordless phones, when they were introduced in the 1970s, quickly became popular devices, although some were hesitant to make use of them due to fears of others listening in to private phone calls. Today, a smartphone fits in the palm of a person’s hand and can go anywhere they go.
With the help of telephones, individuals can now connect with anyone they want to without difficulty. A person in need of assistance might contact 911, while a child can call their mother to receive permission to stay out later. A businessman in New York may contact a colleague in South Africa to discuss a work issue any time day or night, and people might make use of any telephone interpreter services to speak to someone in another country when they need information about a product or service, for personal reasons, or on a legal matter. The telephone makes it possible to connect to anyone across the globe in a matter of seconds regardless of where the parties are located. This was unimaginable 150 years ago.
Who knows what the future holds when it comes to telephones? These devices are already being used for many things other than making phone calls. A person can monitor their health with nothing more than a smartphone while another may choose to have a phrase translated when traveling in a foreign country. Bell and Gray likely didn’t envision their devices being used for these purposes, but they are. It will be interesting to see what the next advancement in telephone technology will bring.