Landlines Hold Sentimental Value in Many Hearts
Many people would agree that the telephone is one of the greatest inventions of all time. Before the phone was created, it was impossible to verbally communicate with someone even just a few miles away, let alone across the country or the world. The telephone was able to connect people across hundreds of miles. Because of this invention, we are now blessed with mobile devices and smartphones. Now the phones we use today are tiny supercomputers that we can keep in our pockets. However, we wouldn’t be where we are today without the landline telephone.
While landlines were only invented a little over 100 years, they quickly became an integral part of our lives. Nothing beat the excitement you had when waiting for your crush to call only for one of your siblings to answer first and embarrass you. To show how close you were with your friends, you had to memorize their phone number to contact them. Landline telephones also made it easier to connect with family. Most families shared one landline, so the phone would pass from one family member to the next until it got to the person you needed to talk to.
Without the landline telephone, we wouldn’t have the smartphones we use today. We also wouldn’t have so many great memories associated with these devices. That’s why every year, on March 10th, we celebrate National Landline Telephone Day! Tech Critic is here to take you down the history of telephones and where they are today!
Who Invented Telephones?
As with many inventions throughout human history, who was the first to invent the telephone is up for debate. However, the most well-known creator of the telephone is none other than Alexander Graham Bell. But Elisha Gray, an American inventor, was also working on his own telephone at the same time as Bell. While many people were working on a device similar to the telephone, Bell and Gray were the two closest to creating working telephones like the ones we know and love today.
However, after a lengthy legal battle that found its way into the Canadian Parliament and the United States House of Representatives, Bell was credited as the one to invent the first practical patented telephone, while Gray is often forgotten for his contributions.
Bell was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. His family was known for being experts in the field of speech, which Bell originally intended on following. However, many claim that his immense knowledge of sound is what drove him to invent the telephone.
The reason National Landline Telephone Day is celebrated on March 10th is that on March 10, 1876, just a few days after he had received a patent for his device, Bell made the first telephone call. Bell called his assistant, Thomas Watson, who was in the other room and said: “Mr. Watson, come here – I want to see you!” To his delight, Watson came into his room and confirmed that he could clearly hear him. In 1877, Bell and two investors established the Bell Telephone Company, and by the end of 1880, 0ver 49,000 telephones existed in the U.S. The rest was history.
Landlines by the Numbers
The use of landline telephones continued to grow over the 20th century. After Bell’s invention gained more popularity, it became more and more of a commodity. Phones reached their peak in the early 21st century. In 2000, there were 16 fixed-telephone lines per every 100 people in the world. By 2005-2006, that number reached to 20 lines for every 100 people. While landlines quickly reached their peak in a little over 100 years, they swiftly went away with the rise of new technologies.
The first wireless cell phones were beginning to make waves starting in the 1970s. Dr. Martin Cooper, who worked for Motorola, made the first cellular phone call in 1973. By 1983, Motorola released the Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, which many heralded as the start of the cellular revolution. This device weighed 1.75lbs, stood 13 inches tall, and cost nearly $4,000.
Cell phone usage has exploded since its introduction. However, this also meant that landline telephones were a thing of the past. They began to be phased out of most homes. In a 2018 government survey, nearly 55% of households reported not having a landline telephone and relied solely on a wireless one. However, 36% of homes reported having both mobile phones and landlines, but just over 5% said they only used a landline, which was a steep drop from 2005 (a third of homes had landlines). As expected, those who only used a landline were elderly individuals.
Even though landline telephones are being replaced more and more every day, that doesn’t mean we can’t look back on the memories we had with these devices.
How to Celebrate
National Landline Telephone Day is a day to fondly look back at the memories we had using these devices. Even though smartphones and mobile devices have mostly replaced landlines, that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate this holiday!
- Use a landline. The easiest and most fun way to celebrate on March 10th is to find the closest landline telephone you have and make a phone call with it. You can call a friend, a family member, or even just a random number. If you have a child who has never used a landline, take this day to show them how one works.
- See how many numbers you can remember. Back when landlines were our best way to reach each other, we were forced to memorize our friends and family member’s numbers. Now, our smartphones save all the numbers we need. However, take National Landline Telephone Day to see how many phone numbers you can remember. Do you remember your home phone number? Give it a shot!
- Limit cell phone use. Our smartphones have become an integral part of our lives. We use them for many everyday tasks, from contacting friends and family to shopping. However, let’s jump back into days of old. Try not to use your cell phone this day to relive that feeling of relying solely on a home phone.
Even though Tech Critic is a technology company that strives to keep our fingers on the pulse of all new and emerging technologies, we still like to take a step back and admire where we came from and where we are today. Join us in celebrating National Landline Telephone Day!