The Telephone Alexander Graham Bell (1876)

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What It Was? A machine that provides verbal communication over long distances.

Bell and the original "talking telegraph" device in 1876

Great advances in communication technologies took place in the late 1800s. by 1862, telegraph wires connected the East and West coasts. Five years later (1867), a telegraph cable on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean connected the United States with Great Britain.

However, the telegraph carried only written messages and was difficult for untrained people to use. These problems were solved in 1876 when inventor Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. Bell was a Scottish-born speech teacher who studied the science of sound. He called the telephone a “talking telegraph.”

Telephone companies raced to lay thousands of miles of phone lines. By 1880, these were about 55,000 telephones in the United States. By 1900, there were almost 1.5 million!

How it Impacted Americans THEN? 1 million phones in US by 1900. Used in homes and businesses. But only a small percentage of Americans could afford them at this time (1.8%).

How it impacts Americans NOW? Americans utilize the phone for a high percentage of their communication. It has evolved into cellular service and today we have the smart phone. Even young children have their own phone numbers. There are more phones in the United States then people today!

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Created By
Gary Brady
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