Toronto is closely associated with the evolution of the world-renowned invention, the telephone. Its inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, lived in this very city. Thanks to him, local residents became the first to use this technical device. Since the 18th century, the city has had a telephone network and companies that produced the first telephones. What did those devices look like and how were they created? Learn more at toronto-future.
How did Alexander Bell come up with the idea to create a phone?
The telephone is an indispensable tool in today’s world. However, at the end of the 17th century, people didn’t even imagine the possibility of transmitting information over long distances with the help of technology. Back then, the era of scientific research and technical progress had just begun in many European countries and Canada. At that time, the scientist Alexander Bell studied electricity. It was his hobby that soon resulted in the creation of a great invention that changed the lives of millions of people.
In the course of his research, he noticed that by using a pair of diaphragms of a certain type, connected with tin, the human voice could be transmitted by cords or wires. Thus, it could be heard from one closed room into another. After that, he thought about the possibility of transmitting sounds over long distances and began to conduct scientific experiments.
A brief history of the invention of the first telephone in Toronto
The first device he invented was the multiplex telegraph. For the first time, Bell heard an echo coming from it on June 2, 1875. Then he got the idea to improve his device and create a telephone with a wire. The next day, the prototype of the old phone was ready. However, the device didn’t work well and could not provide a constant connection. Bell called it a disappointment and continued his experiments.
After the second attempt, he managed to create an apparatus that consisted of a tube with a signal lever to amplify the sound, transmitter and receiver. It had no batteries and functioned only over a short distance.
In February 1876, he submitted an application of his invention to the Patent Office and received it a month later. In the same year, he successfully tested the phone and demonstrated it in public during the Centennial International Exposition. Alexander Bell and his assistant were presenting their new invention for the first time and didn’t yet suspect the capabilities of the device, which in a few years began to be used throughout Canada and other countries of the world.
When did Torontonians start talking on the phone?
The invention of the telephone became a real sensation in Toronto. In addition to that, Alexander Bell also successfully developed a scheme of a duplex metal telephone line. It was installed by the specialists of telephone companies at the end of the 18th century. The first of those, called the Telephone Despatch Co, was founded in 1878 by two pairs of brothers, Dr. Abner Mulholland and Melvin M. Rosebrugh and Hugh Nelson and Charles Potter. Its telephone operators ensured the connection of users. In its early years, the city installed 30 miles of telephone wire.
Since there was no direct telephone connection yet, users had to call the central office, tell the operator which person they wanted to call and wait for the connection. Only after that, the phone of another user made the sound of an incoming call. To answer, the receiver had to press the switch as it was shown in the illustrated phone’s user manual. The operator indicated the moment you could start a conversation. Then a red light appeared on the side of the device, signalling that it was time to talk.
In the 90s, Toronto acquired entire networks of companies that provided telephone communication services. Also, the first pay booths, where you could communicate with another person over a long distance, appeared on the city streets. That was the beginning of the telephone communication history, which later underlay the creation of modern gadgets.