Over the centuries, people have been striving towards a fast, reliable means of communication. At first, those gaps were bridged with language, usable in face-to-face encounters and then written language, which could be transported over vast distances, though the timeliness of the message left something to be desired. Some civilizations used methods other than written languages to communicate messages accurately across long distances. Perhaps the most famous example would be the Incans of South America. When one village had to deliver a message to another village, several colored pieces of string would be knotted in a specific pattern then run to the neighboring village to deliver the message. Other peoples simply used oral messengers to carry the communication to others.
Again, the problems with these systems were two-fold. If one simply sent a messenger, the communication could get lost in the traveling process, and if one sent some sort of written messages, those devices could easily be misplaced. Also, these methods relied on the speed of the messenger, which could vary, and the distance the message had to travel. For instance, in the War of 1812, the English and Americans signed the Treaty of Ghent in late 1814, effectively ending the conflict. However, it took six weeks for word to reach the capital of the United States and even longer for it to reach the outlying cities. Because of this, the bloody Battle of New Orleans occurred after the treaty had been signed, costing the British armed forces over 2,000 lives.
Obviously, the need for instantaneous and accurate communication was reaching a paramount level with civilizations being spread across such vast distances. The telephone, invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876, solved this problem by transforming human speech into a series of electrical signals that could be sent very much like a telegraph, though on different wires. This invention... [continues]
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