The Photophone – World’s first wireless communications

Bell's Photophone Transmitter

I am starting this blog with a piece of interesting history which is relevant to our industry.  On 3rd June 1880 Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the first wireless telephone message on his newly invented “Photophone”.  This was four years after he had patented the telephone.  So it took just four years to go from wired voice communications to wireless voice communications.  The photophone was in fact the World’s first device for wireless communications.  So optical wireless communications came first and wireless radio communications appeared some years later.  Bell did not just invent and patent the concept, he also built the Photophone and demonstrated it transmitting speech over distances of several hundred meters.

Bell believed the Photophone was his most important invention ever,  much more important he thought than his invention of the telephone.  While you can argue that history seems to have proved Bell wrong on this statement,  I would suggest that history may yet prove that Bell was not that far wrong,  it was just that he was more than a century ahead of his time!

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