Bookmark this page

July in Telephone History

Fri 20 Jul, 2012 // Firstnumber Team
july telephone history

It was July in 1877 when the first pair of telephones arrived on British soil. Inventor Alexander Graham Bell was a Scotsman, but he came up with the device across the pond, in Boston, USA.

In July of that same year, Bell and his financial backers, Gardiner G Hubbard and Thomas Sanders, founded the Bell Telephone Company. Prior to its launch, the three men had struggled to promote their new invention due to the popularity of telegraphs. Gradually, however they gained ground amid fears from telegraph company Western Union who promptly formed the American Speaking Telephone Company to compete in the market.

Five years down the line, in July 1882 the British Postmaster-General, Henry Fawcett, decided it was time to grant telephone operator licences to all responsible persons who applied for them in the UK. This went against the previous policy that would have encouraged market monopoly by big players such as the National Telephone Company, and the United Telephone Company.

In July 1883 it was another Scotsman who made history. David Sinclair, an engineer working for the Glasgow branch of the National Telephone Company, patented the first automatic telephone switching device. The crafty invention allowed for calls to be placed to any branch without manual intervention by an operator at the central exchange. Sinclair established his six line automatic exchange in Coatbridge, near Glasgow.

An interesting incident occurred in July 1910 when a wireless message sent from SS Montrose in the Atlantic Ocean to New Scotland Yard led to the arrest of murderer Dr Crippen and his mistress Ethel le Neve. This was the first time wireless was used in this manner.

It is thanks to developments like these that we are able to offer a cheap international calls service.

Search Firstnumber
Stay up to Date
Latest From The Blog


    Students Increasingly ‘Addicted’ to Their Mobile Phones, Warns Study

    A recent study carried out by researchers from Baylor University found that female college students spent upwards of ten hours a day on their phones. The study also showed that 60% of students admitting to being addicted to the technology. "As cell phone functions increase, addictions to this seemingly indispensable ...

User Testimonials
Firstnumber lets me make cheaper calls to my good friends in Australia.
Firstnumber is very clear and it's easy to find the country you're looking for.
The prices are very, very good. Thank you firstnumber!
Firstnumber is straightforward and easy to use.
Firstnumber halves my phone bill every month.
I love firstnumber! I used the service to call friends in Thailand.
I couldn't believe that all those hours of firstnumber call time still cost under £10!