Smoke Signals to VoIP: A Communications Timeline
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Smoke Signals to VoIP: A Communications Timeline

Communication is the ability and means of sharing information. Its history dates as far back as the earliest signs of life because as the early man exchanged signals and speech with his fellow man and other animals, he was actually communicating. However, communication has developed rapidly over the years as it grew from speech to symbols, with writing and telecommunication coming up in the recent past. Communication has affected people's lives in no little way as the needs of people are passed across. For instance, those that need the supply of goods and services communicate to get them; security is ensured as the police, fire department; people are entertained and updated with information through the radio, television and internet; government can meet the needs of the people; and very importantly, families and friends that live far apart can keep in touch with one another. Only the future can tell what higher levels of communication this Information Age will be launched into, but it all began long ago…


The Phoenicians created the first alphabets.

The Sumerians bring forth a style of writing pictographs on clay tablets known as the Cuneiform writing and the Egyptians created the hieroglyphic writing.


Greeks use an alphabet of sounds that is written from the left side to right.


The first record of writing on bones in China


The writing of the first encyclopedia recorded in Syria.


The first postal service to be used by the government in China.


Homing pigeons is recorded to be used for the first time to send information on the winner of the Olympic Games to the Athenians.


The very first library is started by the Greeks.


The first portable and little writing surfaces made from dried reeds is invented (Papyrus rolls and early parchments).


Messenger relay stations built with human messengers on foot or horseback often seen in Egypt and China. Fire messages also used in place of humans.


Romans build postal services.


Roman Emperor Tiberius first use mirrors to send messages (Heliographs).


Books are bound for the first time.


Paper is invented as it is now by Tsai Lun of China.


The first wooden press in which symbols are carved on a block of wood is made in China.


Pi Sheng from China make the first clay movable type.


The first newspapers seen in Europe.


First metal movable type invented by Johannes Gutenberg.


Primitive image making developed by Camera Obscura.


Leipzig, the first daily newspaper is invented.


The first patent for typewriter is given to Henry Mill, an Englishman.


First long distance semaphore telegraph line (that can be seen) is made by Claude Chappe.


First photographic image is invented by Joseph Nicaphore.


The first microphone, a primitive sound box is invented by Charles Wheatstone.


First long distance electric telegraph line is developed by Samuel Morse.

Patent for the first fax machine received by Alexander Bain.


Pony Express for mail delivery begins in the U S.

Kinematoscope that flashes many still photographs on a screen is developed by Coleman Sellers.


First modern typewriter, Sholes is achieved in America.


Patent for mimeograph, a copying machine for use in an office is given to Thomas Edison.

Patent for electric telephone given to Alexander Graham Bell.

Dewey Decimal System is written by Melvyl Dewey for ordering books in a library.


Patent for a record player (Phonograph) with wax cylinder as recording medium is received by Thomas Edison.

High speed photography invented by Eadweard Muybridge


Emile Berliner creates a style of recording on gramophone, which is a mode of communication that can be used repeatedly.


George Eastman is given patent for Kodak roll film camera.


Almon Strowger was given patent for automatic telephone exchange.


Guglielmo Marconi makes wireless telegraphy better.


Answering machines for telephone invented.


The first magnetic recordings whose medium for recording is magnetized steel tape is in vented by Vladimir Poulsen, which tater became a foundation for the music recording industry and large data storage on disk and tapes. Loudspeakers were also invented in this year.


Guglielmo Marconi achieves the first radio signal across the Atlantic Ocean from Cornwall to Newfoundland.


Comic books were produced.


Lee deforest develops the electronic amplifying tube that enables all signals to be amplified and improved communications.


Thomas Edison exhibits the first motion picture with talking.


First telephone call was made across continent.


First radios having different stations were established.


Vladimir Kosma Zworykin invents the first television camera.


The first television signal on experiment transmitted by John Logie Baird.


Warner Brothers studio improves on Thomas Edison's work by finding a way sound can be recorded differently from the film on big disks and running the sound and moving pictures at the same time.


Two radio networks were started by NBC.

The CBS and the first broadcast in England also began this year.

Warner Brothers brings out the first talking motion picture-"The Jazz singer".


The "Golden Age" of radio increases the popularity of radio.

The US starts her first television broadcast.


First magnetic recording begun by Joseph.


Television broadcasts, not only played live but now can be played and recorded.


Television broadcasts on schedule begun


The age of information science begins as government begins to own computers like Harvard Mark I.


33 revs per min long playing records.

Transistor that helped reduce the size of electronic devices invented


The US begins network television.

Record that uses 45 revs-per-minute is invented.


Commercial sale of computers began.


Xerox machine (photocopier) produced by Chester Carlson.

Integrated circuits invented.


In US, Zip codes invented.


Xerox achieves the first fax machine-Telecopier.


The first internet known as ARPANET began.


Floppy disc invented.

The microprocessor brought forth.


HBO produces cable TV services for pay.


Invention of Apple I home computer.

Ted turner implements the first nation wide programming through satellite.


Cellular phone communication began in Japan.


Invention of Sony walkman


First sale of IBM PC and the first public sale of laptop computers are recorded.


Cellular phone communication started in US.


The Apple Macintosh and IBM PC AT are invented.


People began to appreciate the use of cellular phones on a wide scale. Also, CD-ROMs were invented for the computer in the same year.


The birth of World Wide Web, causing the speed of communication to soar in the internet world.

Today, development in communication has also led to the establishment of VoIP. VoIP means Voice over Internet Protocol. It is used to send across voice information via phones and laptops. It is very effective and cheap in modern technology.

  • The Phoenician alphabet: This can be said to be what gave birth to modern writing.
  • Phoenician writing: The Phoenician alphabets were developed at about 1,000 BC. They constituted about 22 characters.
  • History of communication/technology: The site discusses the past inventions that led to modern writing today. There is also a look at what writing will be likr in the 2024.
  • Paper and Chinese culture: The site shows a detailed description of what writing used to be like in China.
  • The first postal service in China: China began her first postal service between 1111 and 255 BC. The postal system was enviable and effective throughout the country and beyond.
  • Allied homing pigeons: The homing pigeons were effectively used during the World War II to send secret messages. At first, there were about 200,000 pigeons in use for this.
  • The Papyrus rolls: The Papyrus rolls were used to document very long written information. It was commonly used among government officials.
  • In the Beginning: In the Beginning, sending message was not as easy as it is today.Messages were sent via human messengers, pidgeons, mirrors, flags, fire beacons and telegraphs.
  • The Heliograph: The heliograph was a device that was made to send message by using reflective mirrors.
  • The invention of paper: Paper was invented by a Chinese man called Ts'ai Lun. He used bamboo fibers and mulberry tree to achieve this feat.
  • The invention of the printing press: The printing press was invented in the 1400's by Johann Gutenberg. The printing press was used to print the Gutenberg Bible in 1455, which was the first printed book in Europe.
  • The camera Obscura: The camera was the device that led to the invention of photography. It worked by allowing light pass through a tiny hole on it.
  • The history of newspapers: In 1650, the world's oldest daily newspaper was established in Leipzig. The name of the newspaper was "Einkommende Zeitung". It was a German newspaper.
  • Samuel Morse: Samuel Morse was the inventor of the Morse code and made improvements on the telegraph.
  • The history of electroacoustic music: Electroacoustic music was performed by devices that helped in the development of communication. Some of them were the telegraph and the telephone.
  • Ancient typewriters of interest: Some of the old typewriters used in communication include the Sphinx, the Edison Mimeograph and the Saturn.
  • Inventor of the gramophone: The Gramophone (an instrument for communicating) was invented by Emile Berliner. He lived between 1851 and 1929.
  • The golden age of radio: The period was between 1930 and 1950. It is called the golden age because it was at this time that radio became the most effective means of communication.
  • History of the broadcast media: The broadcast media has gone through a lot of modifications since the radio and television were put into use.
  • The revolution of the internet: The internet is now widely used to communicate across several countries in the world at the same time. Its invention started around 1965.
  • ARPANET: ARPANET was the stepping stone of the developments achieved on the internet today.
  • Timeline of the computer: The site is detailed in information about the step by step development of the computer.
  • History of the cell phone: The timeline begins with Michael Faraday's effort in finding out how space can conduct electricity.
  • What is VoIP? VoIP means Voice over Identification Protocol. With this technology, one can send information with voice via the internet.

The history of communications: Communication methods today really show that this is the "information age". It was not like before the 20th century when researches were still being made.

About the author

Yaniv Masjedi joined Nextiva in 2008 and currently serves as the Vice President of Marketing, focusing on marketing strategies and customer success. He graduated Summa Cum Laude from UCLA.

Contact an Amazing Service
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(800) 799-0600

See how Nextiva will transform
the way you communicate.

Contact an Amazing Service
Sales Expert
(800) 799-0600

See how Nextiva will transform
the way you communicate.