The 10 most interesting facts about the telephone

4/23/2012 6:30:39 PM

Our world may have been a very different place if Johann Philipp Reis never invented the forerunner of telephone in 1861 (but well, we would’ve still had Graham Bell). On his 150th birthday, we congratulate Reis with ten of the most curious facts about the telephone


1. Start

Description: The 10 most interesting facts about the telephone

Reis’ music telegraph (or the Reis Telephone) of 1861 functions basically like a telephone, with a major exception: voice transmission was only possible for one direction at that time. One of the first sentences transferred was: ‘The horse does not eat cucumber salad.’

2. Old Etiquette

At a time, it was considered impolite to call someone without requesting for a prior verbal or written permission. The only exceptions are for in case of familiar events (or perhaps very urgent matters).

3. First postpaid telephone

The first public telephone was installed as early as 1889 in Hartford / Connecticut in USA. The money was paid into coin machines only after the end of the conversation.

4. Ladies do better

Description: 4. Ladies do better

Why are women better telephonists? Instead of a macho joke, we’ll give you a logical technical explanation: the higher voices of women could be understood better from the office via the limited frequency band.

5. Expensive number

666-6666: This is the most expensive telephone number of the world. It was auctioned in 2006 in Qatar for an absurd sum of 2 million euros (thankfully, for a good cause).

6. Make it short

The sign ‘Make it short’ was hung beside almost every the public telephone in Germany between the years 1930 and 1970. This is because private connections were very few at that time, and the certificate for local calls was introduced only in 1980.

7. Hollywood-style

‘Dial M for Murder’, an Alfred Hitchcock Thriller released in 1954, had a telephone play a primary role for the first time. ‘E.T.’ would phone home almost 28 years later. And in 2002’s ‘Phone Booth’, Colin Farrell’s character was told: ‘Stu, if you hang up, I’ll kill you.’

8. The end of manual operators

An undertaker rings for the end of manual phone exchange operators. In 1981, Almon B. Strowger invented the ‘Strowger Switch’ as he was fed-up with local phone operators. It became the forerunner of the automatic telephone exchange system.

9. Punishable

As cordless phones could register with the old CT1 and CT2 mobile frequencies, they may not be used officially in Germany since 1 January 2009. Do otherwise a fine of 1,000 Euros can be charged. However, that radio standard can be hardly controlled in practice.

10. First mobile telephone

33 centimeter long and weighing at 800g: the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X (1983) was a real wrist-breaker. However, in spite of its short call duration of an hour and high price of 3,995 US dollars, the first mobile of the world was sold a hundred-thousand units.

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