Pacific Freediver

Preparing you for the biggest dive of your life
microphone operators telegraph telephone

Evolution of Telephones: From a Crank Phone to an iPhone

On 10th March 1876, Alexander Graham Bell made a first telephone call. Little did he know that was the beginning of what is arguably the most important communication technology in the history of man. Since then, telephones have undergone dramatic evolution.

So how did it start?

Following an accident that nearly left him paralyzed, Bell came up with the idea of a telephone. On 10th March 1876, the idea materialized when he made a first telephone call. Since then, Graham Bell has been defended in court 600 times against individuals claiming that he wasn’t the inventor of the telephone.

Switchboard operators

The very first telephone operators were unqualified and unsupervised telegraph boys who were replaced by women who seemed more reliable and pleasant. By 1946, AT&T had employed approximately a quarter-million switchboard operators.

How the telephones worked

Sound waves were converted into electrical signals and vice-versa. The simultaneous invention of speakers, signal amplifiers and microphones became necessary for the telephones to work.

The telephones had five important parts; microphone (transmitter) – speaker (receiver) – Dial (tone or pulse) – Ringer/Alerter – Antisidetone network.

The first places long distance the telephones were used include:

­ 1881 Boston-Salem

­ 1884 New York-Boston

­ 1892 New York-Chicago

­ 1893 Boston-Chicago

­ 1895 Chicago-Nashville

­ 1896 Kansas City-Omaha

­ 1897 New York-Charleston

­ 1898 New York-Kansas City and

­ 1927 Columbia, MO-London

From the 1890s to 1990s, telephone evolution took another turn. More improvised models were made as follows;

Hand Cranked Wall telephones -1880’s

Candlestick telephones -1890’s

Cradle Phones-1890’s

Candlestick Rotary phones-1914

Desktop Rotary-1920’s


Wall Touchtone-1970’s



Candy Bar-1990’s

From the 1990s to date, mobile phones replaced the telephone boots and office phone. The new cellular phones that were made included the clamshell or flip models followed by sliding/qwerty Keyboard phones.

Smartphones with features such as Bluetooth, touch screen, GPS, video games, email, internet, video and sound recording, etc. followed. The last 10 years have seen tremendous advancement in technology with mobile phones leading. Tablets and iPhones have become a lifestyle.

From the big and bulky to Slim and Subtle phones, no one knows what the future holds.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *