The telephone is device used around the world to communicate across great distances and has come a long way since it was first created in 1876. Alexander Graham Bell was the first person to be granted a United States patent for an early telephone, but it's creation began well before his patent.
In 1844, the idea of a telephone was first proposed by Innocenzo Manzietti, who though that an idea of a "speaking telegraph" would be a more efficient way of communicating than via a traditional telegraph. Soon after, the world of inventors began attempting to create this sound telegraph. First, Johann Phillipp Reis created a device IN 1861 that could transmit only specific phrases or musical sounds. Four years later in 1865, La Feuille d'Aoste used a telegraph line to transmit spoken words. However, using telegraph lines were limited in their ability to be transmitted to everyone. So, the inventors began trying to find other wires that could work to transmit spoken messages.
With this goal in mind, Alexander Graham Bell began to use electromagnetic telephones to transmit oscillating sound waves across his wires. With this he was able to successfully transmit spoken words across a telephone wire for the first time! On March 10th 1876, Bell first spoke into a device, saying "Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you." Mr. Watson was able to hear the transmission very clearly and thus, the telephone was created.
This early telephone device different very greatly from the devices present today. At this time, the telephone must be connected to a wire. This wire ran to a central hub where an operator had to manually connect you to who you wanted to speak with. Additionally, the first telephones only had one port for both speaking and listening, requiring the user to constantly switch back and forth between the same port to speak and then listen. Also, these phones were quite large and took up a good portion of a room.
In the 1890s, the telephones began to grow smaller and resemble more of a candlestick appearance. When the receiver hung on the hook it was not in use, but could be removed from the hook in order to be used. This is where the phrase "off the hook" comes from. Into the 20th century, the phones continued to get smaller and smaller, develop a rotary dial, and become more affordable. By the 1960s, telephones greatly expanded into people's homes where they have been ever since.
In more recent decades, the telephone has developed even further into the digital world, with cell phones replacing the land line telephones of the past. Although the Bell telephone is slowly being replaced with the digital version, the need for a telephone will never disappear, which is why this invention will always remain important in the years to come.