A modern person can’t imagine their everyday life without smartphones. In the 21st century, a smartphone is a multifunctional device, with which you can not only make calls but also take photos, shoot videos, send messages, work and much more. However, in the 19th century, telephone and telephone communication looked completely different. So, do the residents of Manchester know how telephone communication was developed in their hometown? Learn more at manchester-future.
Emergence of telephone communication
In the 21st century, the age of innovative technology and the Internet, it is difficult for many Manchester residents to imagine what communications looked like more than a century ago. Manchester has an incredibly rich history of its creation, development and formation. The city became a UK innovation centre that played a significant role in the development of telephone communication.
The history of telephone communication in Manchester goes back to the second half of the 19th century. In particular, Queen Victoria made the first telephone call in the world in the 1870s. The telephone was Alexander Bell’s invention, which instantly became known around the world. In Manchester, a local resident, Charles Moseley, got interested in the idea of telephone communication. Later, the first telephone companies began to appear in the city.
Moseley was granted a licence to install telephone equipment several days after the world’s first telephone call. Thus, the first telephone communication between Thomas Hudson Ltd in Shudehill and the company’s office in Dantzic Street happened in the city in the late 19th century. The company used the first regular telephone in the country.
The city’s first telephone exchange opened on Faulkner Street in 1882. It provided telephone communication to over 150 users. It was a humble beginning of the telephone industry development. However, soon, it made a real revolution and forever changed the usual ways of communication between people in 19th-century Manchester.
Manufacturing of telephone equipment in Manchester
Subsequently, the Moseley and Sons company started the production of telephone equipment in Manchester. For many years, it supplied the city residents with private telephones. In particular, the company stayed afloat for a long time owing to a patent for a granular carbon microphone. At the end of the 19th century, Moseley and Sons became the leading telephone company in Manchester and throughout Great Britain.
The end of the 19th century was an era of rapid development of the telephone network in Manchester and the whole country. Telephone exchanges appeared at the local Post Office, in railway companies and large private enterprises. The telephony implementation in Manchester was in full swing.
Respectable work of telephone operators
The emergence of new telephone companies led to the creation of new jobs. One of these was a telephone operator. Although, initially, telephone companies recruited mainly men, later they began to hire women as well. Thus, the job of a telephone operator in Manchester in the late 19th century and early 20th century became incredibly popular.
Expansion of telephone companies
Since the demand for telephone services in Manchester was constantly increasing, more and more companies offering them appeared. Over time, competing companies such as the Lancashire and Cheshire Telephone Company and the Manchester Telephone Company emerged in the city. They provided telecommunication for both consumers and businesses. Their competition has led to innovation and improvement of services, which have ultimately benefited the people of Manchester.
At the beginning of the 20th century, the telephone became more accessible to ordinary residents of Manchester. At that time, telephone directories were already published and the number of telephone users continued to grow rapidly. Manchester residents could easily communicate with friends and family, run businesses and reach emergency services with just one phone call.
The age of digital technologies
The Second World War left a significant mark on the telephone infrastructure in Manchester. Many stations and lines were destroyed in the bombings. It took a long time to restore them.
The restoration of Manchester’s telephone infrastructure was taking place in the digital age. In the second half of the 20th century, Manchester’s telephone network completely switched from analogue to digital technology. This, in turn, led to improved call quality, reliability and the appearance of new functions such as call waiting and voicemail. It was a global shift for the city in the field of digital technologies.
In the 21st century, the world got new innovative technologies in the form of smartphones. However, the telephone network created back in the 19th century hasn’t disappeared from the streets of Manchester. Of course, stationary phones aren’t as popular as modern smartphones, but they occupy an important page in the history of the city’s development.