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200 Years of Communication Century by Century

Posted In Industrial & Technology, Technology Reviews - By Techtiplib on Tuesday, June 4th, 2013 With No Comments »

The evolution of communication between people over the last two hundred years is an impressive example of human innovation. Only a mere two hundred years ago communication between people could take as long as a month or more. Today, thanks to cell phones and internet service providers, communication between two people is nearly instantaneous. How did this dramatic change in communication come to pass?

Two hundred years ago, at the turn of the 19th century, the only way to communicate with someone who wasn’t a neighbor was by using the Pony Express or traveling yourself. This form of communication was slow, sometimes taking a month or more before your letter would reach its intended recipient. There were obvious downfalls involved with this type of communication. In order to overcome these downfalls inventors saw the opportunity to find a way to make communication faster and easier.

The telegraph changed the way people communicated drastically. Many inventors each played a part in its invention. The most primitive telegraph was invented in 1794 by Claude Chappe. In 1809 Samuel Soemmering invented the simplest electrical telegraph.

The telegraph that became widely popular came into existence thanks to the dedicated work of inventor Samuel Morse. The first telegraphs needed a wire to carry the signal, however in 1893 Guglielmo Marconi invented the wireless telegraph.

Though the telegraph changed communication for people, it introduced a new challenge, as well. You could only send code through it and if you did not know the code you could not translate it. Communicating back and forth would still take a bit of time. Many inventors worked on developing a device that could carry voice over long distances after the telegraph was well in use, most of them only touched on successful prototypes for various reasons. The first successful transmission over a distance of clear and distinct voice was produced in an experiment by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876.

Though small improvements followed, no leaps happened in communication until 1946 when the first mobile phone call was made. These mobile networks were only used by certain people. The invention of cellular technology was an improvement, allowing larger networks and more people to use them. The first commercial cell system was opened in 1983.

Along with the invention of the personal computer, other means of communication opened up. You could use a modem attached to your computer and your telephone line to communicate with the Bulletin Board (BBS) and with others who used that BBS. This kind of communication was nearly instant as well, though you could only communicate with other people on that particular BBS.

Though the precursor to the internet would start to take shape in the 1960s, it wasn’t until the late 1980s that the first internet service providers would come into existence. The internet was totally commercialized in 1995, and now nearly everyone in the industrialized world has access to internet service providers making email, instant messaging, and even video conferencing an easy and fast form of communication worldwide.

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