When the telephone was introduced in 1876, a Western Union internal memo noted: “This ‘telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a means of communication. The device is of no value to us.” In 1879, W. H. Preece, a Post Office engineer, testified to a House of Commons Committee that Britain had little use of the telephone because: “Here we have a superabundance of messengers, errand boys and things of that kind”
Even Alexander Graham Bell, who was awarded the patent for the invention of the telephone, disliked telephones so much that he refused to have one in his office. But that should not come as a surprise because both his mother and wife was deaf and perhaps Bell – who also was a speech teacher to the deaf – was only considering them.
When Bell passed away in 1922, every telephone served by the Bell system in the USA and Canada was silent for one minute.
How many telephones in the world?
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) there are some 1.4 billion fixed lines phones and about 5.3 billion mobile cellular subscriptions.
Almost 2 billion people (of the almost 7 billion world population) use the Internet, either via computer or a mobile phone.