This is a speaking tube, one of the first
forms of the telephone that is based on the transmission of sound through pipes, built
by Antonio Meucci in 1835 at the La Pergola Theater in Florence. In 1805, several speaking tubes were also
mounted aboard the HMS Victory. Something similar has also been reported by
the Beijing Journal in 1968 which covers the invention of the Chinese Kung-Foo-Whing. It was created using bamboo rods and is called
the “Thumstein”. According to Wikipedia, this method of communication
was already in use in ancient Rome and even in ancient Greece. It is certainly plausible, as the ancient
Greeks knew how sound spread through the air and they were able to build theaters with
great acoustics. The speaking tube is so practical that it
is still in use on boats today. Its range is about 90 meters, after which
the sound is lost. The next evolution of this device is the mechanical
acoustic telephone. You may have even built one as a child by
using a rope and two paper cups. The bottom of the cup acts as a diaphragm,
converting sound waves into vibrations that travel along the string, which the other cup
then converts back into sound waves or words. British physicist Robert Hooke conducted numerous
experiments with these devices. The first acoustic string phone is credited
to him in 1667. This device found its greatest development
in 1888, when the Pulsion Telephone Company of Massachusetts designed and distributed
its version to the railway companies covering an area of almost 5 km. But it would soon be replaced by the evolving
electric telephone, which despite any major improvements has remained basically the same
until the present day. The electrical telephone combined the audio
transmission technology of acoustic mechanical devices with the long-distance electrical
data transmission of the telegraph. The introduction of electricity in communication
has sensibly increased the phone’s range until slowly eliminating any distance limit;
with the first telegraph in 1837 and then with the electric telephone 40 years later. Whoever invented the electric telephone is
a subject of a debate for historians. In 1871 Meucci couldn’t pay $250 for an official
patent and he deposited a patent caveat for $10. A patent caveat was only a notice of intention
to file an official patent and it had to be renewed every year. But Meucci had no money and his notice expired
three years later. Then, in 1877, Alexander Bell presented a
regular patent for the telephone. This led to years of legal battle, which favored
Bell first, but the appeal sentence was never concluded due to the high costs and because
the patents were already expired anyway. Only in 2002 the United States Congress asked
to recognize Meucci’s “life and facts” in addition to his contribution to the invention
of the telephone. Calling from a car became possible in 1946,
however, it was extremely expensive and with only three available channels, you had to
hope that no one else was already using it. The telephone had brought the whole world
to our fingertip and the only limit was the wire, which Motorola eliminated in 1983. The first cell phone, the Motorola DynaTAC
8000x, weighed 1.5 kg with 20 minutes of battery life and costing $10,000 in today’s money. Since then, cell phones have been constantly
changing and evolving; having reached 5 billion users in 2017 worldwide, while the land lines
keep declining. Today smartphones have given people the tools
to communicate with each other like never before, regardless of where they are in the
world.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. What do you think? Meucci or Bell? If you enjoyed the video leave a like and don't forget to subscribe! D

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