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    A Brief History of Long Distance Communication

    From cuneiform and hieroglyphs to phone and internet connectivity. Learn all about the history of long-distance communication.


    Written by Alex Thompson

    15th Nov 2016

    Can You Hear Me Now?

    The history of long distance communication begins with the development of language itself.

    Humans have always found ways to communicate with each other through a combination of symbols, gestures, and primitive language. And while these methods may have been effective at getting a message across when standing face to face with the recipient, sending it through a courier sometimes proved to be unreliable, as anyone who’s ever played the game Telephone as a child will know.

    As humans developed though, the need to communicate complex ideas became more and more necessary. We developed governments, trade systems, and educational institutions, all of which required detailed explanation and meticulous organization.

    And with this need came the development of formal written languages.


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    Cuneiform, Hieroglyphs, and Roads

    The Sumerian cuneiform is the earliest known documentation of written language. It dates all the way back to the 4th millennium BC. The language features a complex system of wedge-shaped marks, usually imprinted on clay slabs, and contained over 1,000 different characters.

    The hieroglyphs of ancient Egypt came next around 3100 BC, the basis of which were pictorial symbols or “glyphs”. By using papyrus, a crude form of thick paper, the Egyptians were able to communicate a specific message on a more transportable medium rather than the clay slabs associated with cuneiform.

    Although the reduced weight of letters certainly helped improve delivery times, it was the construction of major roads and highways like the Royal Road, built by Darius the Great of 550 BC, that truly streamlined communication over a long distance.

    Regular maintenance along with strategically placed posting stations of this road in particular reduced a 90-day travel time to an impressive 7 days, making it by far the quickest means of long distance communication at the time.

    Heliographs and Optical Telegraphs

    In addition to language-based communication, it is thought that ancient civilizations also used visual cues to communicate over long distances.

    The heliograph, for example, is a tool which used the reflected light of the sun to warn allies of invasion, ask for assistance, or convey a range of other messages. Just as a tiny mirror can be used to signal a plane tens of miles away, so too was the heliograph able to cover vast distances at the speed of light.

    Combined with a code based on alternating flashes created by moving an object through the reflected light’s path, the heliograph could not only send an alert, it could also deliver a fairly complex message. The instrument was so simple and effective that it was even used regularly by the British army until the 1960s.

    Optical telegraphs were another means of long distance visual communication. Also known as semaphore lines, these constructions involved mounting a set of movable shutters (resembling old fashioned antennas) on top of an outpost. A codebook was established where each change in the positioning of the shutters would correspond with a different message.

    As these outposts were in viewing distance of another outpost, when a message needed to be delivered down the semaphore line, one outpost would change their shutter position which in turn would signal to the next outpost to change theirs. The sequence would then continue until reaching the destination. And while delivery of the message depended on the speed and skill of the shutter operators, this method was by far quicker than any mounted courier.

    Electricity Ushers in a New Era of Communication

    As technology advanced over the coming centuries, the main methods of communications did too. And while the speed and efficacy of these systems improved by incorporating ships to cross oceans and planes to soar above impenetrable landscapes, the core principle of transporting a physical message to another person remained.

    Until, that is, we learned to harness the power of electricity.

    The Telegraph: Instant Communication

    Early constructions of the telegraph started popping up across the world during the 19th century. Some used static electricity while others worked off of electromagnetic principles to send messages to another connected telegraph a great distance away. But none of these were able to get any traction on the market as they were too expensive to run.

    The Cooke and Wheatstone system however, developed by William Fothergill Cooke and Charles Wheatstone, was the first commercial electrical telegraph. This system required six wires and included several needles which would point to different letters of the alphabet.

    After a series of demonstrations, none of which were able to win over any funding, the system finally caught hold of enough investors in the late 1830s to become a widely accepted means of communication and was first used primarily in the railroad industry.

    स्रोत : www.wilsonamplifiers.com

    The Evolution of Long

    As human endeavors dispersed around the globe, mankind worked to maintain contact and pass on information. The history of communication technology is one of the great stories of technological progress ever accomplished. Communicating over long distances has been a challenge throughout history. Man has been seeking different ways of doing this since the beginning of…



    The Evolution of Long-distance Communication

    AVATEL ♦ APRIL 15, 2013 ♦ 3 COMMENTS

    As human endeavors dispersed around the globe, mankind worked to maintain contact and pass on information. The history of communication technology is one of the great stories of technological progress ever accomplished.

    Communicating over long distances has been a challenge throughout history. Man has been seeking different ways of doing this since the beginning of time. The transmission of signals over a distance for the purpose of communication began thousands of years ago. Early methods of long-distance communication included runners to carry important messages, smoke signals, chains of searchlights, drums, carrier pigeons, the Pony Express and the telegraph.

    It was not until the late nineteenth century, however, that man was able to send and retrieve information by less physically limiting ways. In 1876 Alexander Graham Bell ushered in a new era of voice and sound telecommunication with his prototype telephone. The telephone transmitted actual sound messages and made telecommunication immediate.

    ~ Western Union internal memo, 1876.

    When the telephone was originally invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, communication across a phone line was only achievable by short distances and was only used to transmit voice. The technology grew quickly from this point, with inter-city lines being built and telephone exchanges in every major city of the United States by the mid-1880s.

    The telephone made it possible to conduct business affairs across large distances, helping to revolutionize the way that business was done in many different industries. From the moment of the first conversation, the need to expand and improve the quantity, quality, and speed of communications led to a series of inventions that affect all aspects of our lives today.

    With today’s technology, communications can span the globe and carry voice, data, and video. People from different parts of the world not only correspond very straightforwardly with each other, but they can also share boundless information with each other. While voice continues to be the dominant method of communication, the video conferencing industry is booming partially due to a boost provided by a recessionary economy.

    As you can see, every invention in technology didn’t start without room for improvement. This includes the history of video conferencing. The history of video conferencing technology has had many starts, stops and stalls along the way. In 1964, the first video telephone was developed and displayed at the New York State fair, but the technology never found a place in the market.

    And the video timeline continues:

    In 1976, advancements such as Network Video Protocol and the Packet Video Protocol both helped the maturation of video conferencing but both stayed in the laboratory. And in the 1980’s, digital transmission was available.

    In 1992, Radvision launched the industry’s first IP (H.323) to ISDN (H.320) Gateway and in 1993; Radvision was the first to successfully transfer video over an IP network. In 1994, Radvision introduced video gateways between IP and ISDN networks and in 1995; Radvision joins industry giants to initiate VoIP standardization.

    1996, Radvision introduces its breakthrough family of IP multi-party video conferencing products and solutions and Radvision releases the H.323 protocol stack in 1997 and captures market share. And in 1999, Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) was officially announced and in 2001 Radvision adds full SIP support to all of its products and became the market leader within 12 months.

    Radvision successfully deploys collaborative video communication integration with leading Microsoft desktop products and with 3G networks for full enterprise-wide video connectivity in 2003. In 2006 Radvision launches Scopia multimedia platforms as part of it broad strategy for unified communications. And in 2008, Radvision Scopia Desktop HD Video Conferencing system for PCs was launched.

    In 2010, Radvision launched first room endpoints the XT1000 and XT1200. And in 2012 Radvision launched the Scopia XT5000 and the XT4200, a mid-range video conferencing system, and XT Meeting Center.

    2012 Avaya acquires Radvision.

    The history of video conferencing, although always a work in process, illustrates just how far the technology has come since its debut in 1964 at New York’s world fair. It has clearly broken through nearly every roadblock it has faced and is still in a state of growth and transition. New video solutions enable communications between people separated by great distances — and it provides the capability to communicate with the same clarity and purpose as if those people were in the same room.

    स्रोत : avatel.wordpress.com

    Today in Media History: In 1877 Alexander Graham Bell made the first long

    From person-to-person coaching and intensive hands-on seminars to interactive online courses and media reporting, Poynter helps journalists sharpen skills and elevate storytelling throughout their careers.


    Today in Media History: In 1877 Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance phone call to The Boston Globe

    Today in Media History: In 1877 Alexander Graham Bell made the first long-distance phone call to The Boston Globe

    By: David Shedden February 12, 2015

    On February 12, 1877, Alexander Graham Bell demonstrated how to call long-distance by calling The Boston Globe.

    Later that evening, after Bell’s demonstration in Salem, a Boston Globe reporter sent the first news report by phone back to the paper in Boston.

    The Rutland Daily Globe reprinted The Boston Globe’s story. As you can see in the clipping posted below, the Boston Globe saw great potential in phone technology.

    Here is an excerpt from a Salem Focus story called,

    “The First Long Distance Call“:

    “On February 12, 1877, Bell made the first long-distance phone call in history from the Lyceum in Salem to Watson at the Boston Globe in Boston.

    The phone Bell was using in his demonstration was what he called his ‘Long Distance’ telephone. It was a wooden box about ten inches-by-ten-by-eight with a hole in the front. The caller would speak and listen through the same hole. Thomas Watson had devised a ‘thumper’ that was used to signal the receiver that a call was coming through.

    Bell now held the thumper and made a tapping sound on the diaphragm, which in turn recreated the same sound on the diaphragm in Watson’s phone in Boston. Moments later, Bell heard a sound in his phone signifying that Watson was ready for the communication.

    Bell leaned close to the box and spoke into the speaking device — loud enough for his Lyceum audience to hear.

    ‘Mr. Watson, can you hear me?’

    For a moment, the only thing the audience heard was a crackling sound coming from the receiving device. Then a voice came through. ‘Yes, sir, I hear you.’ A brief pause. Crackle, scratch. Then, ‘Mr. Bell, I should like to sing a song for your audience in Salem. Are you ready?’

    The December 1906 edition of Popular Science magazine described the first example of telephone reporting:

    In 1922 Illinois Bell Magazine went into a little more detail:

    “Henry M. Butchelder, a reporter from the Boston Globe, was present at the Salem end, and after the (Bell’s) lecture telephoned his report to A.B. Fletcher, another Globe reporter, who was present at the Boston end of the improvised telephone wire. Thus the first newspaper report ever sent by telephone was printed in the paper the following morning.”

    Thanks to the Smithsonian, we can now hear what Alexander Graham Bell, the first person ever to call a newspaper, sounded like:


    Tags: Journalism History, Media History, MediaWire

    David Shedden David Shedden

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