Telephone and industrialization

Posted in History Technology
at 2016.05.27
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According to Farley (2), a telephone is any gadget that can transmit sound over long distances. This gadget produces sound by using electricity (the sound of the voice). There must be the receiving and transmitting devices, which are linked to one another by use of a wire or line that passes over the electric current. The invention of this device came about following particular needs within the society. This invention followed the rising level of industrialization and this called for the need to have better communication devices. Alexander Graham Bell made an effort to develop the telephone and the ideas that helped him were developed from the telegraph.

telephone and industrialization

The Telephone development

Alexander Graham Bell most often concentrated on improving the telegraph set up by to Samuel Morse each time he was free from his normal work. The problem with the telegraph was that it needed operators to carry out the interpretation of the messages that were coded and passed over a wire. More so, it was only possible to pass over a single message each time.

This gave rise to much competition among several people who worked on the telegraph to clear off this problem. These people included Bell together with other individuals like Thomas Edison among others. Each of them strived to come up with a telegraph that would facilitate sending more than one message at the same time over one wire.

Also read: Importance of mobile phones

In the year 1874, Bell took his proposal for his vocal telegraph to Boston in Thomas Watson’s electrical shop who turned out to be his assistant. Most of the efforts to achieve the objective in the course of the winter that year had failed but at some point, Bell came up with an idea in which he thought that there was a possibility that there could be talking by using the telegraph. He came up with an idea intended to enable make current electricity to fluctuate in intensity (just the same way the air density is varied to bring about sound production), in order to realize the transmission of verbal communication graphically. This was the starting point of the idea of the telephone (Anon 34).

In the Watson’s electrical shop, they had set up a receiving room as well as a transmitting room. At some point in time, an accident occurred that brought about what Bell was looking for. Watson had plucked at the spring of the transmitter which had just stopped to vibrate. In trying to do this (to set a reed free that was firmly held to the pole of its electromagnet), there had been the production of a “twang” that was transmitted to the other room. This came about as a result of what is known as a liquid transmitter that would give out the required current for the transmission of the actual words. This liquid was the battery acid. A day after this accidental incidence, they set up with a telephone machine that was simple and strung the telephone wire that was the first ever to be set up in the world. Bell filed the patent for his invention just some two hours before Elisha Gray in the year 1876 (Anon 36).

Social elements affected by the rise of the telephone

Initially, the telephone was thought to be well suited for industry but then this turned out not to be true since people thought of using the telephone in other personal matters. With the rise in industrialization, there was need for the improvement in the communication technology in order to achieve efficient running of the industries.

The telephone brought in great impacts on both the homes and the offices. As the telephone facilitated people exchanging ideas basing on private matters, at the same time this telephone facilitated the process of industrialization by making it possible to run huge corporations more efficiently. The telephone made it possible to have efficient internal communication within the large corporations where the employees were spread over various lands that were far apart. The telephone served to the corporations as the organizer because it not only gave room for the exchanging of information but it as well gave room for the structures that were modern to come up and grow. Such structures included movie studios, manufacturers, supplies, and the stock market.

By the corporations doing well and expanding, it is clear to see the way factories multiplied within the society. Just as it is always the case in life when a particular trend gains momentum, the increase in the number of factories caused the society to start getting inclined towards being industrialized and moved away from being an agricultural society.

More so, the telephone brought about revolution in government. For instance, taking the case of the great powers of Europe like Britain, Holland, and German among others ruling their colonies overseas in Africa, Asia, South America and elsewhere could not have been quite possible without the use of the telephone. The telephone facilitated communication between those leaders in the respective colonies and the leaders in Europe.

Reasons why the telephone delayed reaching people’s homes

According to Anon (74), initially, the use of the telephone was to be emphasized on those activities that were related to business. The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell, strongly believed and emphasized that the telephone was to be used purely for official and more serious purposes and it was quite difficult to change this stand that he took. The initial users of the telephone were those people who worked in offices such as the businessmen, the doctors, among others but the telephone did not reach the private homes that quickly.

The telephone services were quite costly in that period and then most people were being paid quite lowly. In the case where the private homes possessed the phones, these were quite rich families. These wealthy families had the telephone in both the offices and in their homes (Fischer 147). These were the factors that brought about the delay in the telephone reaching the people’s homes.


The invention of the telephone has brought about great impacts on the society and most of them positive impacts. Originally, the telephone was used by the people who did business but later gradually spread to other people or the consumers. The telephone has played a major role in the expansion of the business corporation; it has also played a major role in the efficient administration among the governments as well as bringing about effective communication among the loved ones. Just the same way as the telegraph, the telephone has made it possible to share information across the whole world.

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