History of telecommunication
The history of telecommunication began with the use of
smoke signals and drums in Africa, the Americasand parts of Asia. In the 1790s the first fixed semaphore systems emerged in Europehowever it was not until the 1830s that electrical telecommunicationsystems started to appear. This article details the history of telecommunication and the individuals who helped make telecommunication systems what they are today.
History of telecommunication is an important part of the larger
history of communication.
Early telecommunications included
smoke signals and drums. Drums were used by natives in Africa, New Guineaand South America, and smoke signals in North Americaand China. Contrary to what one might think, these systems were often used to do more than merely announce the presence of a camp. [ [http://www.inquiry.net/outdoor/native/sign/smoke-signal.htm Native American Smoke Signals] , William Tomkins, 2005.] [ [http://www.si.umich.edu/chico/instrument/pages/tlkdrum_gnrl.html Talking Drums] , Instrument Encyclopedia, Cultural Heritage for Community Outreach, 1996.]
In 1792, a French engineer,
Claude Chappebuilt the first visual telegraphy (or semaphore) system between Lilleand Paris. This was followed by a line from Strasbourgto Paris. In 1794, a Swedish engineer, Abraham Edelcrantzbuilt a quite different system from Stockholmto Drottningholm. As opposed to Chappe's system which involved pulleys rotating beams of wood, Edelcrantz's system relied only upon shutters and was therefore faster. [ [http://chappe.ec-lyon.fr/ Les Télégraphes Chappe] , Cédrick Chatenet, l'Ecole Centrale de Lyon, 2003.] However semaphore as a communication system suffered from the need for skilled operators and expensive towers often at intervals of only ten to thirty kilometres (six to nineteen miles). As a result, the last commercial line was abandoned in 1880. [ [http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=19&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.itu.int%2Fitudoc%2Fgs%2Fpromo%2Ftsb%2F88192.pdf&ei=WmQKRc6wEqL4ggP_6bHTDQ&sig=__RpZ0L0hbqjtzZfVWEAMZVhduDBw=&sig2=dzK2J3-3WNRc0o63DXwciQ#search=%22semaphore%201880%20Sweden%22 CCIT/ITU-T 50 Years of Excellence] , International Telecommunication Union, 2006.]
Telegraph and telephone
The first commercial
electrical telegraphwas constructed in Englandby Sir Charles Wheatstoneand Sir William Fothergill Cooke. It used the deflection of needles to represent messages and started operating over twenty-one kilometres (thirteen miles) of the Great Western Railwayon 9 April 1839. Both Wheatstone and Cooke viewed their device as "an improvement to the [existing] electromagnetic telegraph" not as a new device.
On the other side of the
Atlantic Ocean, Samuel Morseindependently developed a version of the electrical telegraph that he unsuccessfully demonstrated on 2 September 1837. Soon after he was joined by Alfred Vailwho developed the register — a telegraph terminal that integrated a logging device for recording messages to paper tape. This was demonstrated successfully over three miles (five kilometres) on 6 January 1838and eventually over forty miles (sixty-four kilometres) between Washington, DCand Baltimoreon 24 May 1844. The patented invention proved lucrative and by 1851 telegraph lines in the United Statesspanned over 20,000 miles (32,000 kilometres). [ [http://www.du.edu/~jcalvert/tel/morse/morse.htm The Electromagnetic Telegraph] , J. B. Calvert, April 2000.]
The first successful
transatlantic telegraph cablewas completed on 27 July 1866, allowing transatlantic telecommunication for the first time. Earlier transatlantic cables installed in 1857 and 1858 only operated for a few days or weeks before they failed. [ [http://www.sil.si.edu/digitalcollections/hst/atlantic-cable/ The Atlantic Cable] , Bern Dibner, Burndy Library Inc., 1959]
The conventional telephone was invented by Alexander Bell in 1876.
Antonio Meuccihad in 1849 invented a device that allowed the electrical transmission of voice over a line but Meucci's device depended upon the electrophonic effectand was of little practical value because it required users to place the receiver in their mouth to “hear” what was being said. [ [http://chem.ch.huji.ac.il/~eugeniik/history/meucci.html Antonio Santi Giuseppe Meucci] , Eugenii Katz.]
The first commercial telephone services were set-up in 1878 and 1879 on both sides of the Atlantic in the cities of
New Havenand London. Bell held patents needed for such services in both countries. The technology grew quickly from this point, with inter-city lines being built and telephone exchanges in every major city of the United States by the mid-1880s. [ [http://www.connected-earth.com/Galleries/Telecommunicationsage/Thetelephone/index.htm Connected Earth: The telephone] , BT, 2006.] [ [http://www.att.com/history/milestones.html History of AT&T] , AT&T, 2006.] Despite this, transatlantic voice communication remained impossible for customers until January 7 1927when a connection was established using radio. However no cable connection existed until TAT-1was inaugurated on September 25, 1956providing 36 telephone circuits. [ [http://www.atlantic-cable.com/Cables/CableTimeLine/index1951.htm History of the Atlantic Cable & Submarine Telegraphy] , Bill Glover, 2006.]
Radio and television
In 1832, James Lindsay gave a classroom demonstration of
wireless telegraphyto his students. By 1854 he was able to demonstrate a transmission across the Firth of Tayfrom Dundee to Woodhaven, a distance of two miles, using water as the transmission medium. [ [http://www.dundeecity.gov.uk/centlib/jbl/jblchron.htm James Bowman Lindsay] , Macdonald Black, Dundee City Council, 1999.]
Franklin Institutein 1893, Nikola Tesladescribed and demonstrated in detail the principles of wireless telegraphy. The apparatus that he used contained all the elements that were incorporated into radiosystems before the development of the vacuum tube. However it was not until 1900, that Reginald Fessenden was able to wirelessly transmit a human voice. In December 1901, Guglielmo Marconiestablished wireless communication between Britain and the United States earning him the Nobel Prize in physicsin 1909 (which he shared with Karl Braun). [ [http://www.teslasociety.com/biography.htm Tesla Biography] , Ljubo Vujovic, Tesla Memorial Society of New York, 1998.]
March 25, 1925, Scottish inventor John Logie Bairdpublicly demonstrated the transmission of moving silhouette pictures at the London department store Selfridges. In October 1925, Baird was successful in obtaining moving pictures with halftoneshades, which were by most accounts the first true television pictures. [ [http://www.bairdtelevision.com The Baird Television Website] ] This led to a public demonstration of the improved device on 26 January, 1926again at Selfridges. Baird's first devices relied upon the Nipkow diskand thus became known as the mechanical television. It formed the basis of semi-experimental broadcasts done by the British Broadcasting Corporationbeginning September 30, 1929.
However for most of the twentieth century televisions depended upon the cathode ray tube invented by Karl Braun. The first version of such a television to show promise was produced by
Philo Farnsworthand crude silhouette images were demonstrated to his family on September 7, 1927. Farnsworth's device would compete with the concurrent work of Kalman Tihanyiand Vladimir Zworykin. Zworykin's camera, based on Tihanyi's Radioskop, which later would be known as the Iconoscope, had the backing of the influential Radio Corporation of America(RCA). In the United States, court action between Farnsworth and RCA would resolve in Farnsworth's favour.. [ [http://www.time.com/time/time100/scientist/profile/farnsworth.html Philo Farnsworth] , Neil Postman, TIME Magazine, 29 March 1999] John Logie Bairdswitched from mechanical television and became a pioneer of colour television using cathode-ray tubes. [ [http://www.bairdtelevision.com The Baird Television Website] ]
After mid-century the spread of coaxial cable and
microwave radio relayallowed television networks to spread across even large countries.
Computer networks and the Internet
September 11, 1940 George Stibitzwas able to transmit problems using teletypeto his Complex Number Calculator in New Yorkand receive the computed results back at Dartmouth Collegein New Hampshire. [ [http://www.kerryr.net/pioneers/stibitz.htm George Stlibetz] , Kerry Redshaw, 1996.] This configuration of a centralized computer or mainframe with remote dumb terminals remained popular throughout the 1950s. However it was not until the 1960s that researchers started to investigate packet switching— a technology that would allow chunks of data to be sent to different computers without first passing through a centralized mainframe. A four-node network emerged on December 5, 1969between the University of California, Los Angeles, the Stanford Research Institute, the University of Utahand the University of California, Santa Barbara. This network would become ARPANET, which by 1981 would consist of 213 nodes. [cite book | last = Hafner | first = Katie | title = Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins Of The Internet | publisher = Simon & Schuster | year = 1998 | id = ISBN 0-684-83267-4 ] In June 1973, the first non-US node was added to the network belonging to Norway's NORSAR project. This was shortly followed by a node in London. [ [http://www.norsar.no/NORSAR/history/internet.html NORSAR and the Internet: Together since 1973] , NORSAR, 2006.] ARPANET's development centred around the Request for Commentprocess and on April 7, 1969, RFC 1 was published. This process is important because ARPANET would eventually merge with other networks to form the Internetand many of the protocols the Internet relies upon today were specified through this process. In September 1981, RFC 791 introduced the Internet Protocolv4 (IPv4) and RFC 793 introduced the Transmission Control Protocol(TCP) — thus creating the TCP/IP protocol that much of the Internet relies upon today. A more relaxed transport protocol that, unlike TCP, did not guarantee the orderly delivery of packets called the User Datagram Protocol(UDP) was submitted on 28 August, 1980as RFC 768. An e-mail protocol, SMTP, was introduced in August 1982 by RFC 821 and HTTP/1.0 a protocol that would make the hyperlinked Internet possible was introduced on May 1996 by RFC 1945.
However not all important developments were made through the
Request for Commentprocess. Two popular link protocols for local area networks (LANs) also appeared in the 1970s. A patent for the Token Ring protocol was filed by Olof Soderblomon October 29, 1974. [ [http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=4293948.PN.&OS=PN/4293948&RS=PN/4293948 Data transmission system] , Olof Solderblom, PN 4,293,948, October 1974.] And a paper on the Ethernetprotocol was published by Robert Metcalfeand David Boggsin the July 1976 issue of " Communications of the ACM". [ [http://www.acm.org/classics/apr96/ Ethernet: Distributed Packet Switching for Local Computer Networks] , Robert M. Metcalfe and David R. Boggs, Communications of the ACM (pp 395—404, Vol. 19, No. 5), July 1976.]
History of the Internet
History of radio
History of television
History of the telephone
* [http://www.itu.int International Telecommunication Union]
* [http://www.aronsson.se/hist.html Aronsson's Telecom History Timeline]
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