I drew a total blank with the subject this week. I threw all kinds of photo ideas around in my head, but wasn’t satisfied with any of them, but did remember that I took the photo below earlier this summer. It was taken in the Pioneer Village in Dawson Creek, BC, Canada on my trip to Alaska. The moment I spotted the phone it made me smile, to me it just looked like a face rather than a phone.
In researching for this weeks post I read a few things about the invention of the phone that I didn’t know before, so thought I might share them with you all.
Now, we all know that the inventor of the telephone is Alexander Graham Bell, but it could have been so easily a man named Elisha Gray. Both men independently designed devices that could transmit speech electrically in the 1870s. Both of them rushed their designs to the patent office within hours of each other, but Bell’s telephone got patented first. Thereafter a legal battle ensued over the invention of the telephone, which Bell won.
The original telephone greeting, as suggested by Mr Bell, was “ahoy” (as used in ships), but was later replaced with “hello” on the suggestion of Thomas Edison.
Mark Twain was apparently one of the first to have a phone in his home.
The allocation of telephone numbers to individual phone lines was, as so often is the case, an invention of need. A doctor in a small town in Massachusetts realised that relying on local telephone operators was a risk – what if they all fell sick at once? A real risk, as a fever epidemic was hitting this small town. He came up with the idea of replacing names with numbers, thereby allowing the operator to connect without needing to know the names, especially useful if you were not local and therefore not familiar with the locals.
The 555 prefix is reserved in the USA for fictional numbers as part of TV programs etc. However, the prefix 555 is a genuine area code in Australia (although I haven’t found out for which area – so if anyone knows – please put me out of my misery!).
When Alexander Graham Bell died in 1922, all the telephones stopped ringing for one full minute as a tribute to him. On the day of his funeral the USA and Canada paid tribute to him by closing down their telephone systems for a minute’s silence, affecting over 14 million telephones.
We all know and probably loath the ‘Special’ Nokia tone for receiving SMS text messages, but did you know it is Morse code for ‘SMS’? Likewise, the ‘Ascending’ tone is Morse code for ‘Connecting People,’ (Nokia’s slogan) and ‘Standard’ is Morse code for ‘M’ (Message).
One great quote I came across is from Bjarne Stroustrup, a danish computer scientist, who invented the C++ programming language: “I have always wished that my computer would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish has come true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.”
This quote seems only too accurate these days where our mobile phones do everything from giving us the latest weather forecast to the latest bank balance and somewhere along the line they might actually be used for making or receiving a phone call! I can’t talk to be honest, as I use my phone for all of those tasks and many more.
So here is a big thank you to Mr Alexander Graham Bell for his fabulous invention of the telephone, what did we ever do without it?