Technology nowadays makes it easier for long-distance and even international calls. With the advent of the internet and Facebook, sending someone a message across the world can be done with the click of a button. Skype makes it easy to call friends and family in other countries. International call cards make telephone calls cheap and you can call a variety of locations across the world. But where did this all start?
In 1915, Alexander Graham Bell sent the first transcontinental telephone call in the United States, from New York and was received by his assistant Thomas A.Watson in San Francisco. However, overseas calling was developed much earlier. On the 25th December 1900, John Atkins of the International Ocean (Later becoming West Union) made the first call to Cuba. Using telephone wires connected with already installed underwater telegraph wires that ran between Havana and Key West.
The cables had been laid by the Southern Bell Telephone Company and it was to see if the human voice could be carried over telegraph wires. Atkins had said to the Florida Times, “For a long time there was no sound, except the roar heard at night sometimes, caused by electric light current”. After calling numerous times, he eventually received the reply of “I can’t understand you”. I’m sure many people have experienced that, even with the latest technology.
This had proven that the technology could work and by 1921, The Bell Telephone Company had connected Havana and New York with more deep sea cables. The cables covered approximately 127 miles across the Florida Straight and in waters no more than 2km deep. American President Herbert Hoover made the first presidential call to Cuban President Mario Garcio Menocal on April 11th 1921. The call cost $13.65
In 1891, an underwater cable had already been laid between England and France, making calls possible. However, the distance proved to be too much of an obstacle. As amplifiers and repeaters used to boost the signal failed to work underwater, the signal became too weak too quickly. They had attempted to connect the US and the UK with an underwater transatlantic cable, but the result would have shown the same and the cost would be far too expensive.
The solution to making transatlantic calls was found in using the radio. In 1915, Bell engineers developed the first, brief voice transmission between Virginia and Paris. Commercial use would have to wait another 11 years, as engineers at Bell Labs and the UK Post Office to develop a fully functioning system. This happened in 1927 with the first commercial radio-telephone service between New York and London, costing $75 for the first three minutes. The International Telegraph Union was established in 1947, to monitor the standards of all international telecommunication providers. 13 years later, the Consultative Committee released the first red book of European dialling codes.
The launch of the satellite in 1960 vastly improved the signal and quality of overseas telephone calls. With the advance of computers and the introduction of fibre optic wires using light instead of electricity, overseas communication is enhancing at a fast rate. Call cards are another easy form of overseas calls and most companies provide cheap and efficient means to make quality calls. Technology is ever advancing and as it develops, what will be the next form of communication?
By Harry Price
Harry Price is a truly manly man. He enjoys researching and contributing to the latest technology research and going to the gym.