February 14, 1876
The telephone was patented on this date separately by two men – Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray. This set the stage for controversy over who actually invented the telephone and a drawn out legal battle.
February 12, 1877
Alexander Graham Bell makes the first long distance telephone call between Boston and Salem, Massachusetts. No witches were hung at this time.
January 31, 2005
SBC announced that it would purchase AT&T Corp. for more than $16 billion. This completed (maybe) the long and sordid tale of the old AT&T company after their breakup in 1984. SBC, one of the original “baby bells”, renamed itself AT&T after the merger, confusing nearly everyone in the world as to which company was which anymore.
AT&T announces the designation of 911 as a universal emergency number.
Apple introduces the iPhone at Macworld. The phone wasn’t available for sale until June 29th, prompting one of the most heavily anticipated sales launches in the history of technology. Apple sold 1.4 million iPhones in 2007, steadily increasing each year to sell over 230 million in 2015 alone.
January 7, 1927
The first commercial transatlantic phone service was made available to the public. It used radio signals rather than the undersea cable or satellite technology of today. 31 calls were made between New York and London that day.
Samuel Morse’s telegraph system is demonstrated for the first time at the Speedwell Iron Works in Morristown, New Jersey. The telegraph revolutionized long-distance communications, reaching the height of popularity in the 1920’s and 1930’s. It was slowly replaced by the telephone, faxing, and e-mail, however, it wasn’t until January 2006 that Western Union, perhaps the most famous “telegram” company, sent its last telegraph.