July 30th 2007 02:18
The device that Alexander Bell imitated was the electrical equivalent of a child’s toy composed of two cans connected by a taut string. People had been experimenting with electrical sound transference and similar contrivances long before Bell performed his experiment. Bell contributed nothing to the theories on which electrical voice transmission is based, nor was he the first to apply those theories in physical form.
The theoretical background for electrical wave transmission was established by Heinrich Hertz and Leo Graetz. Hertz is best known for the transmission of electro-magnetic waves through space, a discovery known as Hertzian waves. Hertz was also the discoverer of photo-electricity, the basis for television. Leo Graetz was the first to investigate the dispersal of electrical waves. Thus the telephone, radio, and television are founded on the discoveries of Hertz and Graetz.
There is something intrinsically satisfying about holding a telephone receiver in one’s hand, despite them being, ultimately, the nemesis of the civilized world.
Call me old-fashioned, but the design I admire the best from this selection would be one of the two straight forward golden oldies in white and gold and silver; classic and utterly elegant. But the lad in me digs the military field phone and I am partial to the Bang & Olufsen black square pop-up with the rotary dial … and those pen phones are downright dinky too.