5 Phone Facts You May Not Know

5 Phone Facts You May Not Know

We’ve used telephones for so long now we take much of their functionality for granted. Did you know that ‘hello’ wasn’t the first greeting used in phone conversations? And just why do we dial numbers? Here are 5 interesting and fun facts about the telephone you may not know.


“Ahoy” (as used in ships) was the original telephone greeting, as suggested by Alexander Graham Bell. Later, Thomas Edison alternatively suggested ‘hello’ and it stuck.1


The phone almost didn’t happen.
Alexander Graham Bell originally pursued Western Union to disseminate his telephone technology, offering to sell his patents for $100,000. Western Union responded that the invention was ‘practically worthless’ and would ‘never amount to anything.’ Bell, undeterred, went on to found his own company and the rest is history.2


Hold, please.
In the early 1900’s New York Telephone was having difficulties dealing with connecting and disconnecting multiple phone lines. Milton H. Herzman, with a background in radio, communications and electronics, developed a unique solution – the hold button. His design was first incorporated into the Western Electric Series E phone, patented in 1930.3


Do you know who really invented the telephone?
Alexander Graham Bell is often considered the inventor of the telephone but an Italian-American, Antonio Meucci, patented the telephone in 1871, five years before Bell. Meucci, however, later lost the patent due to his inability to afford the cost of renewing it.4


Why don’t we use numbers instead of names?
Dr. Moses Greeley Parker, friend of Alexander Graham Bell, is credited for the invention of the phone number. In the early days of phone service, you’d call the operator and ask to be patched through to a particular line. However, in 1879 the town of Lowell, MA suffered from an outbreak of measles. Parker questioned what might happen if the operators fell ill, replacement workers would struggle with the current system. Numbers, instead of names, was suggested as a solution. The idea was a success and continues to be the method we use today.5


So… how many of these fun facts did you know? We really enjoyed putting this list together because some of these were so quirky, plus, we love phones and love what we do! If your business is in need of phones or phone service and you want to get help from the experts, Virtual Technologies Group has just the answer for you! Give us a call today!



1. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?search=hello&searchmode=none
2. http://www.businessinsider.com/why-people-thought-telephones-would-fail-2014-1
3. http://blog.phmg.com/2014/07/from-milton-to-marketing-the-history-of-on-hold/
4. https://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/telephone.html
5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_number#cite_note-Brooks.2C_John_1967.2C_p._74-1