A telephone is a device that transmits sound from one person to another over great distances. Sounds can be transmitted in many ways. The first landline telephone used electrical signals between people over a wire. Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the invention and patent of this device.
Photo: Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 large box telephone (source: National Museum of American History).
How Does a Telephone Work?
A telephone works by converting a sound into electrical signals. A person speaks into a microphone. The microphone converts the sounds into a signal by modifying an electric current. The signal is carried by the current to its destination where a speaker converts the electrical signal back into sounds.
This only reflects the basic operation of a the device. An actual phone network is much more complicated and has a lot of additional tasks to do.
Alexander Graham Bell and Others
Alexander Graham Bell received a US patent for the phone in 1876. That patent was the basis upon which the telephone industry developed. However, other people have also been credited with the invention of the telephone. Other phones had been made or planned before Bell’s. However, Bell’s telephone was the first practical device upon which an industry could be built.
Since then, the telephone has continued to evolve. Newer technologies have emerged for transmitting the sounds by radio signals or via the Internet. Smartphones have emerged that combine the phone with other devices like calendars, cameras, recorders, and Internet access.
Improving Your Reading and Thinking Skills
Think for a few moments. Try to recall the major ideas in this article. When you are done, click the box below for a list of main ideas.
How did you do? With practice, you should be able to identify many of the major ideas. You may even discover some important ideas that aren’t listed.
History of the Telephone, About.