3Voice Communications

Historical Note

Portrait of Alexander Graham Bell.

The word telephone was coined by Gottfried Huth in 1796 to describe his invention of a network of mouth trumpets or speaking tubes that could ‘pass messages from tower to tower’ [1]. The distance over which such telephony could be carried out was clearly limited by the power of the ‘loudspeaker’ trumpets. However this was only 2 years after the first official Chappe telegraph message, and before the widespread use of electricity and understanding of electromagnetic waves. The mere fact that telephony was considered is noteworthy.

Sketch of Johann Philipp Reis' telephone.

A system (pictured)1 for transmitting sound using electrical signals was first demonstrated by Johann Philipp Reis, a German scientist, ...

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