Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Communications and the Cell Phone Addiction Part II (c)

By Miriam B. Medina

This is part two of a two-part series about the many uses and the history of the cell phone. In part one; we covered a brief history of communications technology as it evolved, from ancient times up until the 19th century. Now we get to the current boom of technology that has everyone talking to people far away, wherever they may roam.

So, let us get back to our story.

In the nineteenth century, the first electrical communication devices (the telegraph and then the telephone) made significant strides in technology with respect to communications covering distance with more speed. In the United States, the first practical telegraph was invented by Samuel Finley Breese Morse. This form of communication was so efficient and successful that there was no longer a need for the pony express. And no, they didn't shoot all the ponies and make them into glue. The economic development of the United States benefited from the intertwining of the telegraph and the railroads. Plus, there was a sudden surplus of horses. Two birds with one stone.

On February 14, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell, a successful teacher of the deaf, filed for a patent for the telephone which revolutionized communications. But this was no state of the art hand-held device that was Blue Tooth ready. It was more like two cans and an elongated electrical wire, but it conveyed voices farther than they'd ever traveled in mankind's history. This device was demonstrated at the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876, attracting considerable attention.

Then came the Radio, which was equipment based on a new electrical communications theory. Radio broadcasting began to evolve en masse in America during the Roaring Twenties. The radio and the automobile were two of the leading consumer products of the 1920's, in fact. For many families, radio was a luxury which they just could not afford. Without the radio, those who lived in the rural areas, namely farmers, were as isolated from all communication as were the Pilgrims. As a result of the ensuing economic boom brought about after World War I, higher wages were paid, profits were made and the items that were considered luxuries before the war were able to be purchased. At the end of the day, families and friends would gather around the radio to listen to the nation's most popular nightly comedy radio show, "Amos and Andy." The show first aired in 1926. Radio stations began mushrooming all over America after that, the programs being paid for from advertising dollars.

Now with the purchase of a radio, farm families from even the remotest corners of the country were brought into direct and daily contact with the rest of the nation. With just a twist of the dial, entertainment, sports, religion, latest news and music could be heard.

"In 1925, the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) released statistics indicating that of the 26,000,000 homes in the United States, 5,000,000, or 19.2 percent, had radio receivers, though the number of broadcast listeners was estimated at 20,000,000. In his Historical Dictionary of the 1920s (1988), James S. Olson notes that sales of radio went from $60 million in 1922 to $843 million in 1929."

The radio had a very high priority in just about every household as a form of entertainment from early morning until far into the night. Since then, television, computers, the internet, cell-phones, pod-casting, and much more have played an integral form of communication in our lives, as well as revolutionizing the use of leisure time. But radio was the first real electric communications addiction for personal use.

To be continued:)

To contact:

No comments: