From wired to wireless: Telephones
Life, as we know it today, is made easy by numerous devices and equipment that are designed to make things simpler and better. But have you ever thought what was life like, before these came along? What’s the science behind these inventions?
To find answers to these questions, we welcome you to The Evolution of Everything – a series that will help you understand everyday objects better. Put on your curiosity hat, as we uncover the most basic, yet important, inventions in your home like phones, television, the internet, and much more!
Prepare yourself to explore with us the history, technology, and evolution of everything that you always wondered about.
Can you imagine your life without the phone?
Not being able to communicate with anyone who is not around you, no messaging, no apps, no social media, and no phone games makes life dull and boring.
Well, this was the reality until 150 years ago! Alexander Graham Bell invented the phone in 1876. This was not an accidental discovery though. Telephones were being developed from as early as1660s, those were much simpler, but not as efficient as Bell’s invention.
History behind the invention:
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on March 3, 1847, Bell belonged to a family of specialists in the field of elocution and the correction of speech. Bell too, intended to pursue a career in the same, but fate had other plans for him. In one of his interviews, he says, his knowledge of the nature of sound led him not only to teach the deaf but also to invent the telephone.
Before stumbling across his discovery of the phone, Bell was experimenting with his ‘harmonic telegraph’ approach. On June 2, 1875, Bell made a breakthrough. Using his harmonic telegraph, Bell realised that he could hear the sound of a twanging clock spring over a wire. On March 10, 1876, he successfully made a call to his assistant in the next room, saying:
“Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”
The rest, as we know is history.
The science behind telephones:
Essentially a phone is a two-way radio of sorts. At one end is a radio transmitter and at the other a radio receiver. So when you speak to anyone over the phone, the phone converts your voice into electrical signals, that are sent through radio waves to the closest cell tower.
Over the years, the telephone has evolved, so much so that it, in turn, has changed us humans in many ways. Here’s a timeline demonstrating the evolution of telephones over the years.
Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at firstname.lastname@example.org to share anything that you think is worth sharing.