In Pictures: 200-Year Epic Journey of Phones

Phones have become an integral part of our lives. It won’t be an exaggeration if it is said that it is pretty much impossible to imagine today’s world without telephones. Telephones since their invention, have undergone many changes to become small, handy devices which can be carried everywhere, literally everywhere.

Let us have a look at the eventful journey of transformation of telephones through the years..

Invention of telephone by Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell was the one who invented “talking through wires”. The words which he first spoke on the phone were addressed to his assistant Mr Watson “Mr. Watson–come here–I want to see you.”


The Centennial Model

The Centennial Model is so labeled because it was first demonstrated on June 25, 1876 at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia. Bell said to the public that he would show them “something which would speak”.


Bell demonstrates speaking into the telephone in 1876.

In January 1915, Bell made the first ceremonial transcontinental telephone call. Calling from the AT&T head office at 15 Dey Street in New York City, Bell was heard by Thomas Watson at 333 Grant Avenue in San Francisco.

Bell on the telephone in New York (calling Chicago) in 1892

Bell on the telephone in New York (calling Chicago) in 1892

Telephones in the early 1900s

With the onset of the century, the telephones saw many changes in their basic design and functions. The technology was improving and it reflected directly on telephones as well.

Below is the picture of one of the telephones in the starting years of 20th century. It also has a slight resemblance with a human face, that too, a funny one.

The Telephone in the Early 1900's

Telephone in the Early 1900’s

Here is a picture of the Nickel plated, tapered shaft, aka “oil can” desk set (first from left). This rare set is known as the oil can because of the way it looks upside down.


These phones marked the era of the “real” phones, the ones people can associate with today. You must have seen these phones in old movies.

Three Phones 1920 (Candlestick telephone)

Desk Stands, often called “candlestick” telephones, were the first desk telephones manufactured by Western Electric. The desk stands that were built before the turn of the 20th Century were extremely ornate and are today worth many thousands of dollars.

Telephones from 1950 till date

Telephones from 1950 till date

The technology improved further giving way to the telephones we use today. The design of telephones went under a major overhaul to become sleek and stylish. And during this period of advance of telephones, mobile phones came in picture.

Birth of mobile phones

Now that the traditional telephone had developed quite a bit, the idea of “mobile” phones came up i.e., the phones which were mobile or which could be carried around. A lot of mobile phones models were made, but the first one which came in the limelight in 1973 is the one you see below.

The first ever publicly available mobile phone. It was launched by Motorola in 1973

The first ever cordless phone was launched by Motorola in 1973

Martin Cooper made the first handheld cellular phone call in public. Walking down the streets of New York, Cooper – the General Manager of Motorola’s communication system division – talked on the phone. The phone is also known as the “Brick” cell phone.

Mobile phones till 2000

As we entered the millennium, a few companies which manufactured mobile phones, had come to the foreground and the competition to make the best portable calling device was on.


After 2000, mobile phones became cheaper and thus became more easily available to the general public. Although they still were not very common, but yes, possessing a mobile phone was no longer a very big deal for people. But it still was considered an item of luxury.


First touchscreen mobile phone

Although the first touchscreen phone was invented in 1992 by IBM under the name “Simon Personal Communicator”, it was the first iPhone which changed the way we used touchscreen mobile phones. It was introduced in the United States on June 29, 2007. It featured quad-band GSM cellular connectivity with GPRS and EDGE support for data transfer.

iPhone and the dawn of Smartphones

And with all that. the first iPhone is here!

The first iPhone was released in 2007

The first iPhone was released in 2007

And since then there has been no stopping the tremendous growth. The number of manufacturers kept growing and so did the mobile phones. This was a period of a tremendous boom in the market of mobile phones.

Today, a phone is no longer a phone! It has to, and does, deliver a plenty of functions to the customers. Now you can do almost anything imaginable, by today’s standards, just by tapping your phone a couple of times.


Future calling

There are a number of features which we can expect from the smart phones which will be launched in future. Augmented Reality is one such feature. It makes available more information for us users by combining computer data to what we see in real life. Foldable screens will also look a lot cooler.

In fact, LG has already announced a flexible, curved smartphone screen. Its first devices to use the new 6-inch OLED screens will be available next year.

, In Pictures: 200-Year Epic Journey of Phones, Science ABC, Science ABC

A curved screen phone

The future of smartphones

The future of smartphones

There is practically no end to what we may expect from the future generations of smartphones. Ranging from AR to seamless voice control, there are plenty of things which still are to be incorporated in the revolutionary device.

The short URL of the present article is:
Help us make this article better
About the Author

Team ScienceABC is the handle of a team of engineers and science graduates who come up with brilliant ideas every now and then, but are too lazy to sit at one spot to complete an article, and dread the idea of being considered ‘regular writers’.

Science ABC YouTube Videos

  1. Can Mutations Make Us Superheros?Can Mutations Make Us Superheros?
  2. Gravitational Lensing: What It Is And How It Is Helping Us Discover New GalaxiesGravitational Lensing: What It Is And How It Is Helping Us Discover New Galaxies
  3. What Exactly is Archimedes Principle: Explained in Simple WordsWhat Exactly is Archimedes Principle: Explained in Simple Words
  4. What is Evolution? A Simple and Brief ExplanationWhat is Evolution? A Simple and Brief Explanation
  5. What is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Explained in Simple WordsWhat is the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle: Explained in Simple Words
  6. Why Are Planetary Orbits Elliptical?Why Are Planetary Orbits Elliptical?
  7. Why Are There Stones Along Railway Tracks?Why Are There Stones Along Railway Tracks?
  8. Why Do We Dance To Music?Why Do We Dance To Music?