The rise of the telephone and associated industries has produced some of the most incredible technological changes in the history of humankind, and all within little more than one hundred twenty-five years. This timeline charts just a few of these extraordinary leaps of innovation and invention.

To see the timeline complete and large enough to read, click on the image above. You can also simply scroll down this page to see each piece of the timeline as it stands alone.

We have also prepared a special "Top 10" list of past telecommunications events. Please click here to view it.

From Party line to online: The telephone had as big an impact on the 20th century as the Industrial Revolution had on the 19th century. It changed the way we live, work and play--and contributed to the invention of television, computers, pagers, fax machines, e-mail, the Internet, online stock trading and more. In the next decade we can expect wireless Internet connections in your car or briefcase, phone numbers you keep for life and voice activated dialing at the touch of a button at home, work, or on the go.

1876: Alexander Graham Bell invents the telephone
1881: First telephone Yellow Pages directory
1891: First dial phone; 512,000 phones in the U.S.
1887: First coin-operated telephone installed in the Hartford Bank by the payphone's inventor, William Gray.
1915: The first "official" coast-to-coast call is made from Alexander Graham Bell in New York City to Thomas Watson in San Francisco.

1929: Herbert Hoover becomes first president of the United States with a phone on his desk. Until this time, the president talked on a phone from outside a booth outside his executive office

1957: Field tests for the first pagers begin in Allentown and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
1958: Princess Phone introduced. First phone with a lighted dial, became a part of American pop culture
1960: The first Touch-Tone telephones are test-marketed in Findlay, Ohio. These telephones had 10 buttons, rather than the 12 buttons of today
1963: Hotline established between White House and Kremlin following the Cuban missile crisis
1968: 911 chosen as the nationwide emergency number. The nation's telephone companies agree to make this three-digit sequence unavailable as an exchange number

1972: First e-mail message. The term "Internet" is used for the first time two years later, but the concept of the Internet as we know it today didn't evolve until later
1984: First cellular phones

1991: Caller ID introduced. Controversial at the time, Caller ID has become America's most popular add-on feature
1998: The World Wide Web is born, marking the beginning of the Internet as we know it today. Most Americans get Internet connections through their phone lines

2000 and beyond
2000: The "Web Phone" combines a traditional telephone with an LCD touch-screen and a retractable keyboard to let customers surf the Internet, check e-mail, make phone calls and check voice mail from a single device
2000: The "Thin Phone" integrates wireless Internet access with local wireless phone service, allowing Internat customers to stay connected with everything from Web pages to voice and e-mail, all while on the move
2000 and beyond: "Information Appliances" make Internet mobile, wirless "Web to Go," voice-activated dialing, phone numbers for life, phone calls and Internet on your TV, TV via wireless phones, and much more. If you wish to see our "Top 10" list of events that may shape the future of telecommunications, please click here.

You can find many more documents in our archives. Contact us at 303-296-1221 or via email for information.

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