Telecommunications, Morse Code, Radio and Telephones
One of the most important abilities mankind has is the ability to communicate. Throughout the ages man has developed and
instigated many ways of relaying messages, to include carvings and painting on rock, the human runner, the horseback
rider, smoke and fire signals, the pigeon carrier and the use of flags especially on the high seas.
With the invention of electricity came the possibility to transit information via the superhighway of its day,
Morse code and the telegraph. It sprang to mind that if it was possible to transmit sound via dots and dashes
then it must also be possible to transmit human sound, and so the race was on.
Once the telephone had been birthed and was a tried and tested method, more advances had to be made in an
era of vast technological changes. It had to be made cheaper, more reliable and the ability to phone to anywhere in
the world from any location had to be developed. From this passion satellite and the mobile phones were born.
The Mobile Phone Revolution
The concept of communication has evolved rapidly from the invention of Morse code in 1837. We had the telegram,
then the phone operator, which advanced to a switch system - operators were no longer needed. Later on, satellite
systems beamed communication across the globe in an instant.
Mobile phones, born in 1985 were first nicknamed ‘the brick’ due to its size and retailed within a few years at £1,750 a
handset. In comparison a handset with a yearly contract in 2005 cost around £85, a reduction of ninety-five percent.
At technology progressed so the phones began to shrink.
Mobiles with text message (SMS) kept countless children and adults alike tapping their fingers at a constant rate. WAP
the internet phones never really took off like SMS. Soon, polyphonic ring tones and colour screens increased the
creditability of the fashion conscious mobile user. Later, mobile appeared with attached still cameras and then integral
Soon video phones appeared along with the ability to playback and send moving images. This also allowed the user
to be able to see the person on the ‘other end of the line’ and vice versa – like video conferencing. Phones
Cameras then had zoom facilities with several million pixels. Customers soon had the ability to watch live TV
via their mobile and listen to music (via built in MP3’s) whilst on the move and then along came navigational
tools and tracking devices. What’s next the holographic phone?
At a futuristic house exhibition in Germany (in late 2004), for the cost of inserting a £10,000 chip into your phone
you can send a SMS message to your home such as, ‘Light on’ or ‘heating on’ which sends a message to your home modem
and hey presto your light or heating comes on.
It will also send a SMS message back to inform you that it has been done. One mobile phone company have produced a
remote controlled car which you plug into your phone giving the car an instant charge. You disconnect the phone and
then can play with your car using your phone as the control panel. It costs around £80 a car.
Mobile Phone Facts
1. North Korea’s dictator banned mobile phones within his country.
2. Advertising on Mobile phones in some countries in Europe is more popular than TV commercials.
3. Crimes rates have increased as criminals especially teenagers target those with more expensive phones.
4. Some chart songs ring tones outsell their records or CD’s sells.
5. In some countries you can pay your parking meter with your mobile phone.
6. You can now buy the latest Christian ring tones downloaded to your mobile which are found on many Christian websites.
7. Within the UK many villages and small towns have complained above having a Tetras mast situated in their area due to
alleged health risks.
8. When a UK national paper ran a story about phone companies locating their phone mast for £7,000 in hidden locations
(such as chimneys and petrol station sign boards) the phone company was inundated with new applicants wishing for a mast
to be erected on their property.
1. In 2002 Builder Roger Bailey, 50, called for help on his mobile phone after super glue he used to fix a case stuck
it to his hand in Kent UK.
2. In 2003 two robbers Daniel Puiu, 20, and 21-year-old Dorin Oborcianu were jailed in Italy after being identified from
a mobile phone text picture. They are thought to be the first crooks in the world to be convicted using the image
technology. The pair was snapped by a tobacconist who grew suspicious of them as they hung around outside his shop.
3. In 2004 a British survey revealed that one in three people are addicted to their mobile phones, many said, “I couldn’t
live without it.” One mature student said “I am addicted to my mobile. I use it every day sending about ten text messages
to family and friends and probably making about six calls a day.”
4. In 2004 25% (around 300,000,000) of the population in China owned a mobile phone. The Chinese send 220 billion text
5. A book is being sent by SMS in short instalments at a cost of UK 2 pence (0.3 cent) per instalment.
The author, Qian Changfu, has adapted a traditional story ‘Outside the Fortress’ into sixty short chapters. “It’s very
tiring writing a text-message novel” he said. “I had to cut seven hundred words down to seventy.”
6. By December 2004 scientists at the University of Warwick, UK had developed a biodegradable casing for mobile phones
that can be buried and will sprout your very own flower or rose bush! A seed in the plastic is absorbed into the soil
and can grow within weeks. It was hoped to go into production by Christmas 2005, but didn’t.
7. The switchboard at the Pentagon, America has 34,500 lines handling nearly 1,000,000 calls a day.
The History of Morse Code and Radio
In 1837 the electric telegraph is patented by Wheatstone and W.F. Cooke. Morse code, the telegraphic system of dots
and dashes was demonstrated to the public for the first time by American inventor Samuel Morse at the College of the
City of New York.
In 1843 American Congress grants Samuel Morse $30,000 to build the first telegraph line from Washington to Baltimore.
In 1844 Morse’s telegraph is used for the first time between Baltimore, Maryland and Washington DC.
In 1851 underwater telegraph cables were laid from the US under the English Channel, so that Morse code messages could
be sent and received.
In 1886 G. Marconi patented the radio.
In 1891 the beginning of wireless telegraphy began.
In 1895 the Italian inventor Mr Marconi invented radio telegraphy.
In 1899 the first radio distress call was sent from a lightship off Kent, summoning a lifeboat to assist a ship which
had ran aground. The Italian inventor Mr Marconi achieved the first international radio transmission between England
In 1900 the American scientist R.A. Fessendon transmits human speech via radio waves.
In 1901 Marconi transmits a telegraphic radio message from Cornwall to Newfoundland.
In 1904 the first transmission of photographs was achieved by Arthur Korn from Munich to Nuremburg in Germany.
In 1906 the first radio was advertised (Telimco for $7.50 in Scientific American) It claimed to receive signals up to
one mile away. America broadcasts the first radio programme of voice and music, hosted by R.A. Fessenden.
In 1912 the ‘unsinkable’ passenger ship Titanic on its first and last voyage sailing from Southampton, to New York, hit
an iceberg off the coast of Greenland. It was the first ship to send out an ‘SOS’ call. 2,206 passengers and crew died
but there were 732 survivors.
In 1919 the first experiments with short-wave radio (under 100 metres) were performed.
In 1922 the BBC British Broadcasting Corporation was formed.
In 1924 there were 2.5 million radios in use in America.
In 1925 there were just over 1.6 million radios in use in Britain.
In 1930 a picture telegraphy service begins between Britain and Germany.
In November 1931 the first commercial teletype service was introduced by the American Telephone and Telegraph
In August 1933 the BBC radio was used for the first time by the police in tracking down a murderer, Stanley Hobday, by
broadcasting an appeal for information.
In 1934 the wavelength of European broadcasting stations is altered to conform to recommendations of the Lucerne
In 1935 Robert Watson Watt builds radar equipment to detect aircraft.
In 1937 the telephone dial 999 for Emergency Services came into operation in Britain. It was the first of its type in
the world. The first transcontinental radio broadcast was made announcing the disaster of Dirigible “Hindenburg” at
In 1942 the BBC began the first Morse code broadcasts to the French Resistance.
In 1947 scientists working at Bell laboratories invent the transistor.
In 1948 the first port radar system is introduced in Liverpool, England.
The History of Telephones
In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell received the patent for the telephone. Three days later, he made the first phone call
to his assistant who was in another room. The words were “Come here Watson, I want you.” President Hayes of America
was informed of Alexander Bell’s work. President responded, “That’s an amazing invention, but who would ever want
to use one of them?”
Western Union wrote an internal memo in the year same year saying, “This ‘telephone’ has too
many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is inherently of no value to
In 1877 America has the world's first public telephones.
In 1878 British inventor Alexander Graham Bells telephone was demonstrated for Queen Victoria of England at Osborne
House on the Isle of Wight.
In 1879 London’s first telephone exchange is established.
In 1886 G. Marconi patented the radio.
In 1887 the first two cities to be linked by telephone were Paris, in France and Brussels, in Belgium.
In 1880 the London Telephone Company published the first telephone directory in Britain with two hundred and fifty-five
In 1892 the first automatic telephone switchboard was introduced.
In 1910 Britain had 122,000 telephones.
In 1915 the first continental telephone call is made between Alexander Graham Bell in New York and Thomas Watson in
Sans Francisco. A wireless service begins operating between America and Japan.
In 1927 the transatlantic telephone service between New York and London, opened it cost about $75 dollars a minute.
In 1931 King George V of Great Britain accepts the two millionth British telephone for use at Buckingham Palace.
In 1937 the telephone dial 999 for Emergency Services came into operation in Britain. It was the first of its type in the
In 1947 the idea for a portable phone was conceived at Lucient Technologies’ Bell Labs, New Jersey, America.
In 1954 America has six percent of the world population, but fifty-eight percent of all phones and forty-five percent of
In 1956 the Bell Telephone Company begins to develop “visual telephone.” The transatlantic cable service is
In 1962 American Telstar communications satellite goes into orbit. The Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station, Cornwall,
UK received the first live transatlantic television signal from the Telstar satellite, to ‘Arthur’ (Goonhilly one).
In 1969 there were 225 million telephones in service worldwide, 114 million of them were in America.
In 1973, on the 3rd April, Martin Cooper of Motorola, (America) made the first call on a portable phone to his rival,
Joel Engel, head of research at Bell Labs.
In 1977 during the July 13th -14th blackout in New York City, a record eighty million telephone calls were made.
In 1979 Japan launched the first commercial mobile phone network.
In 1984 the European Space Agency launches the world’s largest telecommunications satellite.
In 1987 Telstar communications satellite celebrates it 25th anniversary having relayed 3.6 billion telephone calls.
In 1988 the first transatlantic optical fibre telephones cables come into service linking France, the United Kingdom
and America. The cables can process forty thousand simultaneous conversations which is almost five times more than
conventional copper cable.
In 1991 the first commercial GSM ‘Group Special Mobile’ telephone service went into service.
In 1992 GSM coverage was only available in large cities and airports.
In 1995 GSM coverage had spread to rural areas and phase two of GSM, now renamed ‘Global Systems for Mobile’ was
introduced with added features and services.
In 1995 the Israeli intelligence services assassinated the Palestinian Jerusalem bus and restaurant bomber;
(responsible for ten bombings). An informer gave the man a mobile phone (which had a small bomb inside) and
he was decapitated whilst speaking to his father.
In 1996 author, John Young published ‘The Good Code Book,’ the first volume to list every telephone dialling code
in the world from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
In 1999, on the 28th April, the first Pole to Pole phone call took place between NASA employees at the North and
In 2001 over two hundred thousand telephone calls were made daily at Washington, America’s Pentagon.
In 2002 according to the New York Telephone Company, more than 33% of the 398 million telephones in the world,
reside in America.
In 2002 £47 million pounds worth of ring tones were sold, whereas single CD sales were at their lowest for twenty-five
years. Some pop ring tones sold more than the single!
In 2002 18% of UK motorists admit to regularly driving while talking on their mobile phones.
In 2003 thirty million people within the UK owned a mobile phone and by December it became illegal to use a
mobile phone whilst driving without a hands free kit. In late 2003 phase three of GSM was launched with G3,
the bidding rights were finalised a few years previous to this at £20 billion over ten years!
In 2004 forty-six million people, three quarters of the population within the UK owned a mobile phone.
In 2005 G3 was still suffering teething problems; after all the hype, not much was delivered. In mid 2005 a new
phone was launched which married the music of a MP3 with the communications of a mobile. The phone costs around
£200 and can store around one hundred songs or twelve CD’s.
On the 29th May 2005 the ring tone ‘Crazy Frog, Axel F’ became number one in the UK music charts after a month long
relentless television advertising campaign. This was the first time that a ring tone had become a number one hit.
In September 2005 a UK network began trials in Oxford, where customers can view live television on their mobiles.
In 2006 a dog phone went on sell within the UK. PetCell is 5in by 3in, is slobber-proof and hangs of the dogs collar, so
owners can talk to their pets over a two way speaker (the dog can bark back!) and tell them to come home. If the dog
cannot find its way home then there is a built in GPS tracking system to enable the owner to know its pet location
and passers by can alert the owner via an automatic call button on the dog phone. The phone cost £200 with a more
expensive model having a video camera so that the owner can see what the dog is doing!
In 2007 Sony Ericsson announced that it sold 60 million of their mobile music handset phones the previous year – 17
million were the more advanced Sony Walkman phone. Apple launched its iphone in competition.
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