On January 25, 1915, Alexander Graham Bell made the first transcontinental telephone call. Calling from New York City, Bell was heard by his assistant, Thomas Watson, more than 4,023 kilometers (2,500 miles) away in San Francisco: “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you.” This was an important milestone in the development of telecommunications technology. A device was revolutionary—it transformed sound into electrical signals, transmitted those signals through a wire, and then changed them back to sound again. This technology allowed business, industry, and government to communicate instantaneously by voice across extremely long distances.
Today, more than 4 billion people on the planet regularly use a telephone, either landline models similar to Bell’s early design, or wireless and smartphones. Increasingly, voice communications are conducted over the Internet.
Term Part of Speech Definition Encyclopedic Entry device Noun
tool or piece of machinery.
electrical grid Noun
network of cables or other devices through which electricity is delivered to consumers. Also called a power grid.
system or order of a nation, state, or other political unit.
activity that produces goods and services.
happening very quickly, in an instant.
important event or stage in development.
new or innovative.
mobile telephone with additional features, such as a web browser or music playing device.
the science of using tools and complex machines to make human life easier or more profitable.
the science and technology of sending and receiving information over long distances using electric, radio, or light signals.
electronic tool and system for communication by sound or speech.
extending across an entire continent.
to change in appearance or purpose.
broadcasting of electromagnetic signals, such as radio waves, from a transmitter to a receiver.