We check our e-mail before sending a fax at work. When 8:00 p.m.
rolls around, we turn on our favourite television program. We fall
asleep to the sound of music being broadcast over the radio. The
telephone rings, and we answer it.
Most of us have never lived in a world lacking these luxuries,
and it is easy to forget the technology behind them is less than 200
For tens of thousands of years before that, our ancestors could
send personal messages only as far as their voices would naturally
Now, after a mere century-and-a-half of particularly vigorous
development, Canada boasts nearly 600 radio stations, 80 television
stations, and nearly 1,000 Internet service providers.
We are connected to the world via nearly 20 million individual
telephone lines and an additional 12 million cellular phones.
Our technology is such that we could hear a pin drop from 1,000
kilometres away—and most of us have ceased to marvel at the wonder
Society has been shaped by voice mail and instant messaging—by
having news and weather information available exactly when we want
them—but none of this would be possible if not for those first steps
taken so long ago
Early Communications—presents the early
technologies including post and messenger service.
Telegraph Era—describes the telegraph as a
technological marvel in its own right but also as an important
precursor of the telephone that expanded communication beyond the
realm of print and face-to-face and enabled vast distances to be
Telephone Era—the transmission of sound
electrically was an incredible achievement that impacted enormously
on business, government and domestic communications. This section
moves from invention to the establishment of mass telephone
communications as the telephone moves from novelty to staple.
Current Technology—the end of the 20th
century saw the coming of the Information Age and the Internet/World
Wide Web, It involved the rethinking of telephone technology and the
telecommunications industry from manufacturing to service, from
service provider to user.
Copyright © 2004
Heritage Community Foundation and
Telephone Historical Centre All Rights Reserved