National Telephone Day is observed every April 25, in recognition of the date Alexander Graham Bell introduced his “electric speaking machine” to the world. Eventually rechristened as the “telephone,” this landmark tool has helped us humans stay connected – and do big business – for more than 140 years.
From its 1876 debut to the first cellphone call in the groovy 70s, the telephone has made an indelible mark on relationships worldwide, both professional and personal. While society may have graduated to smartphones, tablets, and e-mails, the telephone remains an indispensable tool of day-to-day life, regardless of where, when, or how it is used.
To celebrate this red-letter date for answering services around the world, we’re calling out six surprising phone facts you may not know:
- Ahoy there: In later life, Alexander Graham Bell preferred to answer the phone with a hearty “Ahoy-hoy.” Derived from the nautical term, “Ahoy,” it was far from the traditional greeting we’ve become accustomed to. Supposedly, Thomas Edison was a fan of today’s standard, “hello,” and – thankfully – it stuck.
- Let Your Fingers Do the (Speed) Walking: The first telephone directory was only one cardboard page featuring just 50 names. Today, there are millions of pages in the phone book (and infinitely more online).
- Public Use: The first public telephone was installed in a bank lobby in Hartford, Connecticut, in 1889.
- “Hi, You’ve Reached Vald – I’m Not Home Right Now…” The very first answering machine was invented by Valdemar Poulsen, a Danish engineer, in 1898. He called his magnetic recording device the “Telegraphone.” The first commercially successful answering machine, however, did not appear on the market until the 1950s.
- Are You Still There? The longest phone call in history was made by World Record breaker Tony Wright from the UK, who talked for more than 40 hours back in 2007. Various volunteers were on the other end of the Internet phone line. While Wright got the props for talking, in our estimation the listeners deserved a great big pat on the back, too.
- Short and Sweet: The first phone numbers were only two or three digits long.
Focus Answering Service’s number is slightly longer – 800-886-6696 – but we promise to make it worth your while.