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The Telephone

Alexander Graham Bell

Until the 19th century there was no way of speaking to someone unless you stood face to face. The only means of communicating over long distances was through the use of the electric telegraph which had been invented in 1836, the message would have to be sent in code.

In 1876 the Scotsman, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated his invention which he called the telephone. This piece of equipment allowed people to speak to each other over great distances.

Experimentation in this type of communication had been previously been carried out by other people including German, (Philip Reis), an Italian, (Meucci), and at the same time as Bell, (Elisha Gray). It was whilst he was in Canada that Bell became interested in electricity and specifically how words may be turned into electrical impulses and transmitted through a wire.

Bells first prototype consisted of a thin sheet of metal (called a diaphragm) held infront of an electromagnet. When the sound (caused by his voice) struck the diaphragm, electricity was generated in the coils of the electro-magnet. These electric currents were transmitted to a telephone in another room along a wire.
When they passed through the coils of an identical electro-magnet in the other room (the receiver) they caused the receiver diaphragm to vibrate and create the sound. His assistant Watson heard Bell shouting, ''Mr Watson , come here I want you''.

The first conversation took place between London and Europe in 1891 and by 1923 it was possible to telephone someone from London to New York.