“Ahoy! Ahoy! Mr. Watson, are you there? Do you hear me?”
It’s Sunday morning and I’m doing what many folks do on Sunday morning, reading the newspaper and other news sources. On CNET, I came across a remarkable milestone.
100 years ago today on January 25, 1915, the first transcontinental telephone call occurred in the US. Alexander Graham Bell asked from New York City: “Ahoy! Ahoy! Mr. Watson, are you there? Do you hear me?” and his associate Thomas Watson replied from San Francisco: “Yes, Mr. Bell, I hear you perfectly. Do you hear me well?”
The innovation that permitted this to work was the vacuum tube amplifier. Prior to the connection to San Francisco, there was a connection from New York City to Denver. To complete the wire to San Francisco, the signal needed to be amplified.
Later that day, the first commercial coast-to-coast call was made for $20 for 3 minutes or roughly $400 in today’s currency.
Though a century seems to be a very long time ago, it really is amazing the technological advances over the past 100+ years. When I was a kid, making a long distant call was a very big and very expensive proposition. Today, it’s just a call (or a text or an email).