As smartphones have become a constant companion for most people in the United States, landline phones are rapidly losing their relevance. In 2004, more than 90 percent of households in the U.S. had an operational landline phone – now it’s (significantly) less than 50 percent. That’s according to data provided by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, which has been tracking phone ownership in the U.S. as a by-product of its biannual National Health Interview Survey since 2004. Continue reading
It’s National Telephone Day. The telephone was introduced at the World’s Fair in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on May 10, 1876. In the crowded Machinery Hall a man’s voice was transmitted from a small horn and carried out through a speaker to the audience. One year later, the White House installed its first phone. The telephone revolution began.
Bell Telephone Company was founded on July 9, 1877, and the first public telephone lines were installed from Boston to Sommerville, Massachusetts the same year. By the end of the decade, there were nearly 50,000 phones in the United States. In May of 1967, the 1 millionth telephone was installed. [Courtesy National Day of Calendar]
And now, the landline numbers are dwindling and the cell phone has become the reigning king of communication, game playing, child soother and camera. What is the world coming to? We can even look at each other while we talk. I’m not sure the new technology, especially the game playing, is a good thing. I only say that because we tend to look at our gadgets, rather that the human we are with. Yes, I am guilty.
Recently, due to weather problems, cell phone service was knocked out in the locale my sister lives. Her neighbor had an old rotary phone in the basement that had been her fathers. She took that up and plugged it into the still existing wall plug and voila, they had phone service. Her grandchildren had never seen a rotary phone so were entranced. They went to school and told their friends. Now it is part of every family gathering to have the privilege of using that phone to call someone. My how times have changed.
I think we take our ability to communicate with each other, no matter how near or far, for granted. It has certainly made the world a smaller place and so much less mysterious. People don’t dream of what it would be like to move west, or sail the ocean because they can watch videos about it on their phone. We don’t check the mail each day in hopes of news from our cousin in another state, we just text them. The telephone has evolved into more than just a form of communication. It’s a hand-held entertainment center with both good and not so good aspects for the human’s daily life.