The History of Telecommunications Wiki

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Welcome to the not-for-profit CellStream History of Telecommunication Timeline wiki pages.

Some of us have been in telecommunications for our entire careers. This history project started many years ago, and has grown to a very large size. Frustrated by the disjointed information on the Internet, missing important information, or incomplete projects, we wanted to create a more complete and sustainable project. We have even split off the Internet History[1] as a separate but related project. If you are into Telecom and Internet history - you get this!

This is a work in progress as we discover new historical data which you can contribute to!

You must register to edit pages here! We would love some additional participation, so let us know if you want to help

What is Telecommunication?

  • Tele (Greek) = distant
    Alexander Graham Bell constructed this prototype telephone in 1875. The device consists of a coil of wire, a magnetic arm and a taut membrane. Any sound causes the membrane, and hence the magnetic arm, to vibrate. The movement of the magnet induces a fluctuating electric current in the coil. This electrical signal can be reconverted into sound by an identical apparatus at the other end of the circuit.
  • Communication (Latin) = connection

Human beings have always had a need to share their thoughts and experiences. In earlier times it was difficult to stay in touch with people who lived far away. Today, you can pick up the phone and talk to people anywhere in the world. Communication is necessary for human development.


A number of individuals (click on their names to see their pictures) have contributed to the development of electricity and early telecommunications.


Model of Volta's chemical battery
  • Volta 1800 Chemical battery
  • Ørsted 1820 Electromagnetism
  • Ampere 1820 Electromagnetic theory
  • Faraday 1831 Electromagnetic induction
    Diagram of what generally happens during the electromagnetic process
  • Morse 1837 Electric telegraph
  • Bell 1876 Telephone
  • Edison 1880 Carbon transmitter
  • Hertz 1886 Carbon transmitter
  • Marconi 1900 Radio
  • Fleming 1904 Radio tube
  • Baird 1925 Television


A fun video showing how the phone works

















A Visual History of the Telephone thanks to AT&T

B.C.

0000-1199

1200-1499

1500-1699

1700-1799

1800-1869

1870-1875

1876-1877

1878

1879-1880

1881-1885

1886-1891

1892-1899

1900-1910

1911-1915

1916-1919

1920-1925

1926-1929

1930-1935

1936-1939

1940-1945

1946-1949

1950-1952

1953-1955

1956

1957-1959

1960-1961

1962-1963

1964-1965

1966-1967

1968

1969

1970-1972

1973-1979

1980-1984

1985-1989

1990-1995

1996-1997

1998-1999

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

Sources Used during the creation of this information include but are not limited to:

  • AT&T
  • Wikipedia
  • Various History time lines
  • Telephony Magazine
  • Business Communications Review Magazine
  • 8bit-museum.de
  • Apple History
  • History of Computing Information compiled by (late) Mike Muuss (author of ping) at the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
  • Cable & Wireless. A History
  • The Dead Media Project, by Bruce Sterling
  • http://www.cclab.com/billhist.htm
  • Hobbes' Internet Timeline
  • IEEE History Center
  • ISOC
  • ITU, ITU's History
  • Our thousands of friends and users (thank you)!
  • http://www.nasa.gov/