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October in phone history

Fri 19 Oct, 2012 // Firstnumber Team
phone history

Wow, what a month October has been in the world of telephones!

The invention of the telephone is a much-speculated subject. Although conventionally attributed to Scotsman Mr Alexander Graham Bell, some schools of thought believe the real inventor is in fact a Mr Johann Philipp Reis of German origin.

On October 27, 1861 he presented his Reis-telephone to a large audience at Frankfurt's Physics Association Lecture entitled “Telephony Using Galvanic Current”.

Since 1987, in his honour the Philipp-Reis-Preis has been awarded every two years to a promising German inventor under the age of 40.

A few years down the line, on October 9, 1876 Bell's telephone allowed the first conversation to take place over a telegraph line in Boston, Massachusetts. At a distance of only two miles Bell and Watson exchanged those all important first words. Reportedly, the two men and friends celebrated so hard that their landlady almost threw them out!

A moving event took place in Brantford, Ontario on 24 October, 1917. That day, the town witnessed the unveiling of the Bell Telephone Memorial designed to represent the telephone's eradication of space. The message: "To commemorate the invention of the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell in 1874" is inscribed on the monument.

Brantford is where Bell lived after his move to Canada, and where he conducted many of his experiments, including the invention of the telephone in summer 1874.

Many years later, in October 1983 Illinois Bell launched the first commercial cellular system.

Most recently, in October 2008 the UK was witness to “Sachsgate”, the Russell Brand Show prank telephone calls row. The incident involved Brand himself and fellow TV presenter Jonathan Ross leaving obscene messages on the answering machine of actor Andrew Sachs. Their behaviour sparked many a media ethics discussion, and resulted in the BBC being charged a fine by Ofcom, Brand and a Radio 2 controller resigning, and Ross being suspended for 12 weeks.

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