Western Electric invented the loudspeaker which was initially called “loud-speaking telephone.”
Western Electric successfully brought sound to motion pictures and introduced systems of mobile communications which culminated in the cellular telephone.
During the depths of the Depression, telephones in use fell from 16 to 13 per 100 population and by the late 1970’s the number had surpassed 75 per 100 population.
Western Electric mass-produced color telephones for the first time in 1954.
In Japan, Western Electric first sold equipment in 1890, then in 1899 helped form the Nippon Electric Company (NEC). This was Japan’s first joint venture with an American firm.
The use of telephone answering machines became popular in 1974.
In the first month of the Bell Telephone Company’s existence in 1877, only six telephones were sold!
On December 23, 1947, Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, N.J., held a secret demonstration of the transistor which marked the foundation of modern electronics.
In 1953, Sony Corporation obtained a transistor license from Western Electric Co. that led to its development of the world’s first commercially successful transistor radio.
In the early days of the telephone, operators would pick up a call and use the phrase, “Well, are you there?”. It wasn’t until 1895 that someone suggested answering the phone with the phrase “number please?”
Sometimes, early telephone operators would get to know their customers so well, the customers would ask for a reminder call when it was time to remove a cake from the oven, leave the phone off the hook near their sleeping child when they left the house, hoping the operator would hear any cries of distress, request a wake up call before taking a long nap.
Telephone is derived from two Greek words, tele + phone, meaning far off voice or sound.(Tele, far off + phone, voice or sound).
In Milan, Italy, when an operator dialed a wrong number, the phone company fined the operator.
Just like today’s computers, early telephones were very confusing to new users. Some became so frustrated with the new technology, they attacked the phone with an ax or ripped it out of the wall.
In the U.S., 54% of wireless phone users are men and 46% are women.
The number one reason people choose to buy a wireless phone is for safety (nearly 50% of those who own wireless phones purchased it for safety).
The first prototype of the sound-proof phone booth was built in 1877. Mr. Watson, Alexander Graham Bell’s trusty assistant, used a bunch of bed blankets around a box. He created the booth to prevent his landlady from listening in on his conversations.
Some callers didn’t like using the early phone booths because the doors would get stuck, forcing users to fight their way out.
In the early 1880’s some well-to-do telephone owners started the unusual trend of paying to have a theatre employee hold a telephone receiver backstage, transmitting live plays and operas into their living rooms.
The commercial wireless phone was first introduced in Chicago in 1982 by Ameritech.
The first mobile car phones were located in the car’s trunk, taking up nearly half of the space!
Phone service was established at the White House one year after its invention. President Rutherford B. Hayes was the first to have phone service (1877-81).
Fifteen years after its invention in 1876, there were five million phones in America. Fifteen years after its invention, more than 33 million wireless phones were in the U.S.
Being rude to a telephone operator in Prussia was once a crime. In 1908, a respected citizen was reprimanded by the government after becoming exasperated with an operator and saying “My dear girl!”
When Alexander Graham Bell died on August 4, 1922, millions of phones went dead. In Bell’s honor, all phones served by the Bell System in the USA and Canada went silent for one minute.
The first transatlantic wedding took place on December 2, 1933. The groom was in Michigan. The bride, in Sweden. The ceremony took seven minutes and cost $47.50.
In the late 30’s, a man named Abe Pickens of Cleveland, Ohio, attempted to promote world peace by placing personal calls to various country leaders. He managed to contact Mussolini, Hirohito, Franco and Hitler (Hitler, who didn’t understand English, transferred him to an aide). He spent$10,000 to “give
peace a chance.”
In the Catholic church, St. Gabriel, an archangel, is the patron saint of telecommunications.
One of the first telephone answering machines was developed in Switzerland during the 1950’s. It took three days to install.
The famous emergency hotline, whereby the President could have immediate contact with the Kremlin wasn’t established until 1984. Prior to 1984, the only direct contact to the Kremlin was a cumbersome teleprinter link, supplying text messages that then had to be translated, responses drafted and sent back.
During President Lyndon Johnson’s term, many people misdialed the White House number and instead reached the home of a New York housewife. Rose Brown had a near identical phone number. He wrote
and thanked her for her diplomacy in receiving his highly sensitive calls and promised to return the favor when her friends and family accidentally dialed the White House.
Two days before Alexander Graham Bell married Mabel Hubbard in 1877, he gave her 99 percent of his company shares as a wedding gift. He kept a mere ten shares for himself.