18:22 GMT22 April 2021
Listen Live
    • A girl stands in front of an old telephone. The picture dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.
    •  Almon B Strowger's first electromagnetic selector.
    • Several of the hundreds of relief clients who demanded food at the Cleveland City Relief Station in London on 6 May 1938 as the city felt another of its poor aid crises.
    • Picture dated May 1965. The American satellite Early Bird was in orbit above the Atlantic Ocean between France and United States and was able to receive and transmit 480 phone calls.
    • As coins slide down before her eyes, a German woman uses a new long distance dial telephone for public booths, 17 July 1957.
    • A copy of one of the first models of telephones created by Alexander Graham Bell at the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Paris.
    • French singer Jean Sablon (L) talks over the telephone with listeners during disc jockette Vy Prosser's (R) radio broadcast in New York on 16 March 1949. Sablon  the same day opened a limited engagement at the New York nightclub Versailles.
    • A woman talks on the phone at the Gintaras hotel in Soviet Lithuania, 1966.
    • Japanese girls at the Central Telephone Office in Tokyo, on 28 June 1937.
    • A soldier checks the telephone line in the city of Aden. The photo was taken on 21 September 1962.
    • Young policewomen in charge of welcoming foreign visitors pose at a police station in central Pyongyang in October 1991.
    • A London telephone operator demonstrates a special gas mask, equipped with built-in microphone and earpieces so that she can continue working even in the event of an air or gas raid. Here she punches a time clock. The demonstration took place at the Faraday Building trunk exchange, London, on 3 August 1938.
    • A female telephone switchboard operator in the city of Vladivostok supervises the facility.
    • A model wearing a two-piece Carven suit poses in a telephone booth on the Champs-Elysees in Paris on 17 February 1969.
    • Three people make telephone calls from transparent phone booths in a post office in Mannheim, West Germany, 8 October 1959.  It was hoped the booth would make callers more aware of other people waiting and thus shorten their calls.
    A girl stands in front of an old telephone. The picture dates back to the beginning of the 20th century.

    There has been a major debate over the decades about who actually invented the telephone. While the Scottish-born Alexander Graham Bell was the first to receive a patent for the invention, the Italian inventor Antonio Meucci and American engineer Elisha Gray also contributed to what we now call telecommunications.

    On 10 March 1876, just three days after receiving a patent, prominent engineer Alexander Graham Bell made the first phone call, marking a significant breakthrough in science.

    Some 13 years later, on the same day in 1889, American businessman Almon Brown Strowger applied for a patent for what would become the first practical automatic telephone switch. He was awarded a patent in 1891, and the mechanism he invented revolutionised the telecommunications industry worldwide.

    Sputnik invites you to open up pages from the past when phones were just phones, and the simple sound of a voice coming from another part of the world could fill people's hearts with true happiness.

    Tags:
    patent, technology, Science, invention, telephone
    Community standardsDiscussion

    More photos