Getting Technical: A Brief History of Communication



Communication today looks vastly different than it used to. The first mobile phone call was made by a Motorola employee by the name of Martin Cooper on April 3rd, 1973. At this time, the device weighed almost 2.5 pounds and was a lengthy 9 inches long. The caller was able to engage in conversation for 30 minutes, but for the amount of talk time, it took about 10 hours to charge.

Though this was a very exciting step for the technological world, it just goes to show how much things have progressed in 40 years.

Before we talk about how far we have come as a tech savvy world, let’s touch on what communication looked like before the cell phone as we know it today came into existence. It all started with a need to communicate quickly over long distances, and thus began the birth of innovation.

A Chain Reaction

The succession of efficient communication has definitely been a chain reaction that over the years has only improved in its accuracy and efficiency. For thousands of years, messages have been conveyed with smoke signals and signs like the SOS signal, that were designed to be able to be seen from far off distances. As well as this, messages were also transferred via foot and horseback.

However, these modes of communication were too slow and the element of human and environmental error proved to suggest that there had to be a better, more efficient way to transfer important news, almost instantly.

The Birth of Electricity

Upon the discovery of electricity in 1820 by Hans Christian Ørsted and André-Marie Ampère, the first electric motor was invented by Georg Ohm in 1821. From that moment, things only spun forward and the telegraph was invented by Professor Joseph Henry only a few years later.

The invention of the telegraph inspired Samuel F. B. Morse, and as you can assume, in 1932, morse code came into being. The birth of the telegraph was thought the be the direct predecessor to the telephone.

The Birth of The Telephone

Even though it was now possible to transmit messages via telegraph and morse code, people wanted more. People wanted a way to transmit speech. In 1861, Johann Philipp Reis almost successfully invented the first version of the phone by using a beer barrell, a sausage skin and some platinum.

Though he didn’t succeed, it would only be a couple years later that Alexander Graham Bell would make the first telephone call. From this point on, the telecommunication world exploded and we now are able to communicate not only by mobile phone, but also via SMS text messaging, emailing, Skype and Facetime.

The world has most definitely evolved. Wide spread communication used to only be available by horseback or smoke signals. Now, the entire world is able to communicate with the tapping of a screen. It will be exciting to see where we go from this moment on. Will we communicate via telepathy? Maybe.