The ability to communicate over distance has long been part of human history. The earlist primative methods such as beating drums led to optical telegraphy using smoke signals, beacons of light and flags. A semaphore network invented by Claude Chappe operated in France in the late 1700's. An electrical telegraph was developed and patented in the United States in 1837 by Samuel F. B. Morse which revolutionized long distance communication. In 1863 Johann Phillipp Reis demonstrated a working electrical voice-transmission system . His machine consisted of a vibrating membrane that opened or closed an electric circuit. Working examples of Reis' transmitter and receiver can be found on the photos of early telephones page. While Reis only used his machine to demonstrate the nature of sound, there were other inventors that tried to find more practical applications of this technology. While there were others, it was Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 who was given a patent for the first operational telephone. It was this invention that proved to revolutionize the way people communicate throughout the world.








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