Category Archives: Telephone

International Telegraph Union (ITU) Established

Today in 1865, the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris by the 20 founding members, and the International Telegraph Union (ITU) was established to facilitate subsequent amendments to this initial agreement. Today, the ITU is the leading United Nations agency … Continue reading

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First Mobile Phone Call, 1973

Forty years ago today (April 3, 1973), Martin Cooper made a phone call from a prototype Dyna-Tac handheld cellular phone.  The phone, which weighed about 2.5 lb, connected Cooper to Dr. Joel S. Engel, head of research at Bell Labs. Update: From “8 Guys, 6 … Continue reading

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Automated Telephone Switching

Today in 1891, Almon Brown Strowger was issued a patent for his electromechanical switch to automate telephone exchanges. Steven Lubar in InfoCulture: “…a Kansas City undertaker, Strowger had a good practical reason for inventing the automatic switchboard. Legend has it that his … Continue reading

Posted in AT&T, Automation, Bell Labs, Telephone, This day in information | 1 Comment

The First Telephone Directory

Today in 1878, George Willard Coy and a group of investors from the District Telephone Company of New Haven published the world’s first telephone directory, a single sheet with only 50 names. Yes, another thing we don’t have because of technology. Here’s … Continue reading

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The Public Switched Telephone Network Born

Today in 1878, the first commercial switchboard began operating in New Haven, Connecticut. It served 21 telephones on 8 lines consequently with many people on a party line. On February 17, Western Union opened the first large city exchange in San Francisco. … Continue reading

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Patent for Multiple Telephone Switchboards Granted

Today in 1882,  U.S. Patent No. 252, 576  for a “a new system for multiple [telephone] switchboards” was granted to Leroy B. Firman. For more on telephone switchboards, see here and here and here.

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The First Cloud: First Battery-Operated Switchboard Installed

Today in 1894, New England Telephone and Telegraph installed the first battery-operated switchboard in Lexington, Massachusetts. With what became to be known as the “common battery” (replacing the local battery attached to the telephone), the subscriber could signal the operator simply by … Continue reading

Posted in Centralization, Cloud Computing, Telephone, This day in information | 2 Comments

The Last (Old) Telephone Call

June 15, 2018 will be the day in which the last telephone call will be made using the 140-year-old circuit switching network, established in 1878. IEEE Spectrum: “…a huge number of phone calls [today] start out as Internet packets and … Continue reading

Posted in Analog, Digitization, Telephone | 2 Comments

The 5-year-old iPhone

Today in 2007, the first iPhone was released.  

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New Pew Research on Mobile-Only Internet Users

Pew Internet: “17% of cell phone owners do most of their online browsing on their phone, rather than a computer or other device. Most do so for convenience, but for some their phone is their only option for online access. Some … Continue reading

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