Since the dawn of time, man has communicated with one another via many systems. Distance, terrain and the environment have always been obstacles until the modern day. The advent of copper cable systems followed by submarine cables , fibre optic cables and the satellite has put paid to all that. The world is now an incredibly small place and the telephony system continues to become more intelligent and powerful and brings an incredible knowledge base and communicability into today's homes. Phones become cheaper, faster and smaller on a daily basis. People have several phones and numerous phone numbers. Operators continually vie to reduce the cost of long distance calls and provide new services to stay competitive. How did this all happen?
- Hill top shouting. Since time immemorial man has stood on hill tops and shouted across valleys. Yodelling in Central Europe is a refined form of this.
- Drums:- "The heat, the dust, the flies and the incessant beating of the drums - I can't stand it Carruthers!" From Africa and Native America comes the drum as a method of passing information.
- Smoke:- We have all seen cartoon smoke signals. This was a recognized system provided there was no wind or rain!
- Fire:- Shielding and exposing bonfires and torches has long been a signalling method.
- Pigeons:- Homing pigeons have carried news, warnings and love letters across the skies since early times. They were notoriously unreliable and often got eaten en route.
- Heliographs:-Earliest records show that polished shields were used to reflect the suns rays as a method of catching attention. The US army developed a comprehensive code system for transmitting data.
- Flags:- Since Roman times flags have been used. Flags are still in use today particularly in the maritime and yachting world. Semaphore is an example of a sophisticated flag system.
- Messengers:- There are many tales of heroic messengers in history. They were subject to all sorts of dangers and tribulations along the way. Relay systems were used to pass messages on foot or horseback. Interestingly at one point messengers carried pigeons which they released if they were caught. The Kings Messengers were legendary in Great Britain. Wells Fargo and the Pony Express were equally famous. Messengers are still around in the form of the modern day courier. It is a slow and expensive way of communication but it has the advantage of supposedly being a secure method of transmitting a message.
- Optical Telegraph:- Claude Chappe is recognized as the father of the Optical Telegraph. He developed a system using synchronized numbers which when decoded could be translated into words. This system was used across France in the late 1700s.
All of these methods were relatively cheap. They were not efficient or cost effective except over very short distances. Something was desperately needed to increase long distance communication rates and speed the process up. In true form along came....
|1791||Claude Chappe invents the optical telegraph.|
|1837||Electromagnet and Morse Code developed by Samuel Morse.|
|1843||Telegraph established from Washington to Baltimore.|
|1856||Western Union is formed.|
|1866||Europe linked to America telegraphically.|
|1876||Bell invents and patents the telephone.|
|1915||First voice transmission across the Atlantic.|
|1924||The first Fax.|
|1927||Transatlantic Phones become commercial.|
|1956||Submarine Telephone Cables.|
|1960||The first satellites for communications.|
|1964||Touch Tone Telephony.|
|1969||Birth of the internet.|
|1976||The first prepaid phone cards were produced and put on the market in Italy.|
|1977||Fibre Optics become viable.|
|1983||Mobile/Cellular Phone Technology.|
|1987||World Telecom Group is the first company to launch a significant phone-card product in the United States..|
|1990||NYNEX offers the first non magnetic based calling card in the U.S.|
|2000||Phonecard Sales exceed $3 Billion.|
|2001||The first disposable combination cellphone/calling cards make their appearance.
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