The telephone’s role in our lives cannot be underestimated, and that has been so even back in 1876 when Alexander Graham Bell made the now famous call, telling his assistant “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you.”

Telephones have dramatically changed since then, and they have changed the way we communicate. However, the path to phones as we know them today has not been a smooth one.

phone-256x256How the telephone has changed

Lets take a look at the journey that telephones have gone through:

Alexander Graham Bell received patent for the telephone after that famous call on March 10, 1876. However, the beginnings of the telephone are a bit gray and complicated. Elisha Gray, Antonio Meucci of Italy, and Innocenzo Vanzetti, all claim to have invented it.

Between the 1890’s to the 1930s, the popular phone model was the candlestick telephone. It was separated into two pieces with the tall mouthpiece as the candlestick and the receiver was placed on the ear during the call. By the 1930’s, phone companies started manufacturing models with the mouth piece and receiver together.

In 1915, almost forty years since that famous first call, Mr. Bell and his assistant did a demo for the first transcontinental call made from New York to San Francisco. By 1956, the first transatlantic call was made.

Rotary phones became popular before 1920 where you rotate the numbers you are calling one at a time. By the 1960’s and 1970’s, push button phones made its way to mainstream.

In 1973, the first cellphone call was made by Motorola employee Marty Cooper, who said he called a competitor at AT&T to announce the breakthrough. It took another ten years before the first handheld phone hit the market – the model was a Motorola DynaTAC. Over the years, cellphones got sleeker, thinner, smaller and offered more and more features.

The first text message was sent in 1992, which said “Merry Christmas”. In 2000, the first camera phone was released in Japan. Cellular infrastructure then grew from 1G to 3G and Blackberry and Palm were the leading phone manufacturers. Apple introduced the first iPhone in 2007, and the next year, Google came out with the Android.

Today, the cameras are as good as a point and shoot, and the processors are as good as a laptop. Who knows what the next phone breakthrough will be?