Telecommunications

Telephone Patented By Two Men

Bell vs GrayFebruary 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.

First Long Distance Telephone Call Made

Bell PlaqueFebruary 12, 1877

Alexander Graham Bell makes the first long distance telephone call between Boston and Salem, Massachusetts. No witches were hung at this time.

SBC Buys AT&T; The Learner Becomes the Master

AT&T LogosJanuary 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.

First Transcontinental Phone Service

The First Transcontinental Phone CallJanuary 25, 1915

Alexander Graham Bell inaugurates U.S. transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco. President Woodrow Wilson and the mayors of both cities were also involved in the call.

911 is Born

January 12, 1968

AT&T announces the designation of 911 as a universal emergency number.

Apple Introduces iPhone

January 9, 2007

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.

AT&T Settles; Agrees to Breakup

January 8, 1982

The US Department of Justice and AT&T finalize a settlement under which AT&T agrees to divest itself of twenty-two subdivisions, to take effect January 1, 1984.

First Day of Transatlantic Phone Service

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.

Morse Demonstrates Telegraph

January 6, 1838

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.

Nexus is the One

January 5, 2010

The Nexus One phone goes on sale. While not the first Android phone, it was the first phone to be branded and marketed directly by Google. In fact, it was available for purchase directly from Google’s web store for about 7 months after launch.