The First Telephone

The first successful two-way telephone transmission of clear speech was made by Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant, Thomas Watson on March 10, 1876. Now a part of American history, Bell said into the device, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.” and Watson answered.

Bell’s telephone used a microphone made of a double electromagnet, in front of which a membrane, stretched on a ring, carried an oblong piece of soft iron cemented to its middle.

A funnel-shaped mouthpiece directed the voice sounds upon the membrane, and as it vibrated, the soft iron “armature” induced corresponding currents in the coils of the electromagnet.

These currents, after traveling down the wire, passed through the receiver made of an electromagnet in a tubular metal can, having one end partially closed by a thin circular disc of soft iron. When the pulses of current passed through the coil of this electromagnet, the disc vibrated, which created sound waves in the air.

This first primitive telephone was improved quickly. The double electromagnet was replaced by a single permanently magnetized bar magnet having a small coil or bobbin of fine wire surrounding one pole, in front of which a thin disc of iron was fixed in a circular mouthpiece.

The disc served as a combined diaphragm and armature. On speaking into the mouthpiece, the iron diaphragm vibrated with the voice in the magnetic field of the bar-magnet pole, and thereby caused pulses of currents in the coil. These currents, after traveling through the wire to the distant receiver, were received in an identical apparatus. This design was patented by Bell on January 30, 1877. The sounds were weak and could only be heard when the ear was close to the earphone/mouthpiece, but they were distinct.

The first long distance telephone call was made on August 10, 1876 by Bell from his family home in Brantford, Ontario, to his assistant located in Paris, Ontario, some 10 miles apart.

Although not the first to experiment with telephonic devices, Bell and the companies founded in his name were the first to develop commercially practical telephones around which a successful business could be built and grow.

Bell adopted carbon transmitters similar to Edison’s transmitters and adapted telephone exchanges and switching plug boards developed for telegraphy. Watson and other Bell engineers invented numerous other improvements to telephony. Bell succeeded where others failed to assemble a commercially viable telephone system.

The history of the phone is astonishing, and we continue to learn more about phones as new technological advancements can be made. If you are interested in learning more about our premise or cloud based phone systems, or any of our other services contact Advanced Communications LLC today!


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