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A few thoughts on the telephone (land line)

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Land lines, while they may seem quaint now, were the most influential technology ever to exist when they were first introduced.

Prior to the telephone, there was no available method of voice communication over long distances. Nor was there any available method of synchronous communications across long distances. If you wanted to communicate over a distance, the fasted available method was the telegraph, but you had to travel to an office to send a message, and it took quite a while to send, and a response might be long in coming. The same communication could be carried out in real time, from home, over the phone, in just a few minutes.

12 Responses to “A few thoughts on the telephone (land line)”

  1. Curt Says:

    Although the land line was an amazing technological advancement I believe the cell phone is an even greater one. With the cell phone you can do all that but anywhere in the world. You can be in a mall or in school and call your family or friends and have a chat on the go.

  2. Apertome Says:

    Yes, all that is true, but before the advent of cell phones, you could already do all those things, you would just have to use a phone booth. The cell phone made it more convenient, but the ability to make those kinds of communications was already there, in the telephone.

    When the telephone was invented, on the other hand, it was the first time that people could communicate with their families instantly, even over a long distance. In the past, they would have had to write letters or physically visit each other’s homes.

  3. Curt Says:

    Because the telephone gave families the ability to communicate instantly and away from one another it let families grow apart.

    Because you are able to go anywhere with a cell phone I believe it is more important. The cell phone is also not just limited to calling. A person has the ability to send a text message which is used almost more than calling these days. Because of the cell phones portability it has almost taken over a persons life. People these days can’t be away from their cell phone for more than a few minutes where they don’t need to have a land line near by.

  4. Apertome Says:

    Yes, but the text message is like going back in time to the telegraph. Short text messages with no immediate response. It may be convenient in some cases, but it’s nothing you *couldn’t* accomplish with a cell phone.

    Another impact of the telephone was that for the first time, children had a way of contacting their parents quickly if they were out playing, or at a friend’s house. And husbands and wives could keep in touch throughout the day even in different locations. In these ways, the telephone connected and brought families closer together.

  5. Curt Says:

    True the text message is almost the exact same thing but you had to go to a telegraph office to send one where the cell phone lets you do it at you finger tips any where. The ability to stay in contact with family and friends just increase with the use of a cell phone because you don’t need to go in search of a land line you are able to call from anywhere.

    I think one of the more important arguments is that the cell phone has given the user the ability to call, text and access the internet from anywhere on the globe and not be restricted to a phone booth or computer lobby. The ability to access the internet from any where has helped not with subsiding boredom but broadcasting news and useful information. We have the ability to receive emails while waiting for a coffee.

  6. RANTWICK Says:

    No disrespect Curt, but can’t you see the fundamental difference between being able to communicate AT ALL and being able to do it more conveniently or in different useful ways? Even if you wanted to say that the arrival of Internet was bigger than the telephone, the Internet was built on… telephone lines.

  7. Fonk Says:

    Without the telephone, the cell phone never would have been invented.

  8. Apertome Says:

    Outside votes say the telephone is the winner!

  9. Pondero Says:

    It is fascinating to think of the drag race kind of acceleration of the speed of communication and the ability to access information. I believe we are now to a point that is beyond my brain’s ability to process it all. Yes, I’m old.

  10. Apertome Says:

    Good points everyone, I actually posted this as an assignment for one of my classes, but I thought it’d be fun to leave it open.

    Pondero: maybe, but I think that’s insightful, at the same time. As an older student, I think sometimes I have an advantage because I’ve seen new technologies take off and how they have impacted people’s lives. This is useful in trying to understand what it must have been like when, say, the telephone was first introduced. I’m sure people felt overwhelmed by it in a way similar to what you describe.

  11. Steve A Says:

    There is a lot to be said for land lines. I’ve yet to see a distracted driver drift off the road while chatting on a land line. There are things to be said in favor of “quaint” technology – well as long as it is touch tone and not the really old dial type.

  12. Dan Says:

    Don’t forget that, along with the elevator, the telephone helped make the skyscraper possible.

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