• Reis's telephone
    Reis's telephone
  • WordNet 3.6
    • v telephone get or try to get into communication (with someone) by telephone "I tried to call you all night","Take two aspirin and call me in the morning"
    • n telephone electronic equipment that converts sound into electrical signals that can be transmitted over distances and then converts received signals back into sounds "I talked to him on the telephone"
    • n telephone transmitting speech at a distance
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

Bell's telephone Bell's telephone
Bell's later telephone Bell's later telephone
Bell telephone in section Bell telephone in section
Telephone exchange Telephone exchange
Professor Bell Sending the First Message, by Long-distance Telephone, from New York to Chicago Professor Bell Sending the First Message, by Long-distance Telephone, from New York to Chicago
talking on soup can telephones talking on soup can telephones

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone back in 1876, only six phones were sold in the first month.
    • n Telephone (Physics) An instrument for reproducing sounds, especially articulate speech, at a distance.☞ The ordinary telephone consists essentially of a device by which currents of electricity, produced by sounds through the agency of certain mechanical devices and exactly corresponding in duration and intensity to the vibrations of the air which attend them, are transmitted to a distant station, and there, acting on suitable mechanism, reproduce similar sounds by repeating the vibrations. The necessary variations in the electrical currents are usually produced by means of a microphone attached to a thin diaphragm upon which the voice acts, and are intensified by means of an induction coil. In the magnetic telephone, or magneto-telephone, the diaphragm is of soft iron placed close to the pole of a magnet upon which is wound a coil of fine wire, and its vibrations produce corresponding vibrable currents in the wire by induction. The mechanical, or string telephone is a device in which the voice or sound causes vibrations in a thin diaphragm, which are directly transmitted along a wire or string connecting it to a similar diaphragm at the remote station, thus reproducing the sound. It does not employ electricity.
    • v. t Telephone To convey or announce by telephone.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In 1980, there was only one country in the world with no telephones - Bhutan
    • telephone n
    • telephone An interurban telephone system.
    • n telephone An instrument or apparatus for the transmission of sound to a distant point. The word is generally restricted to devices for the transmission of articulate speech by the agency of electricity. The process consists essentially of the transmission of electric waves or impulses which agree in period and phase with atmospheric waves produced by sound. These in turn, by means of an electromagnet, cause vibrations of a plate or membrane, which agitate the air in a manner similar to the original disturbance, and thus reproduce the sound. As in telegraphy, a telephonic system includes a transmitter, a conducting wire, and a receiver. In the magneto-electric telephone the transmitter and receiver are identical. A thin iron disk is placed very near, but not quite touching, the end of a small bar of steel permanently magnetized, about which is wound a coil of thin insulated wire. One end of this wire is connected with the earth and the other with the line. The sound-waves produce vibrations in the iron disk, and as the magnetic field is thus subjected to rapid alterations, currents of electricity are induced, which are transmitted through the line. At the receiving end corresponding changes in the magnetism of the bar of the receiving instrument produce similar vibrations in the iron disk near it, which, in turn, produce sound-waves. When the Bell telephone is used as a transmitter, the sounds are directed toward the mouthpiece p, through a hole in the center of which the vibrations impinge on the diaphragm d. The consequent vibrations of the diaphragm close to the end of the magnet m induce currents in the coil c, which are transmitted to the line wires w through the terminals t. When the instrument is used as a receiver, the pulsatory currents passed through the coil c cause the diaphragm d to vibrate and give out sounds, which are heard by putting p to the ear. Better results, however, are obtained by the use of a different form of transmitter, many varieties of which have been invented. In that most commonly used the motions of the diaphragm cause variations in the strength of a current flowing from a battery through the primary wire of an induction-coil. These variations cause corresponding induced currents to flow through the secondary wire, which is connected with the line. They are generally due to variations of resistance resulting from variations in pressure in carbon, as in Edison's transmitter (called carbon telephone), or in surface contact when hard carbon is used, as in Blake's transmitter. In the latter (see cut) the sounds are directed to the mouthpiece p, which causes the vibrations of the air to impinge on the diaphragm d, on the back and at the center of which rests the point of a spring carrying a small spherical-shaped piece of platinum, s, which presses against a carbon block, b. The current, passing through the primary of the induction-coil i, passes through the contact between the platinum and the carbon, and variations in the resistance of this contact, due to the vibrations of the diaphragm, cause currents to be induced in the secondary of the coil i which are sent into the line circuit. Any form of microphone may be used as a telephone transmitter.
    • telephone To communicate by telephone.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Of the estimated 162 million land-based telephones in the U.S., 25 million have unlisted numbers.
    • n Telephone tel′e-fōn an instrument for reproducing sound at a distance over a conducting wire or cord, esp. by means of electricity
    • v.t., v.i Telephone to communicate by telephone
    • ***


  • Donald Sinden
    Donald Sinden
    “An actor who knows his business ought to be able to make the London telephone directory sound enthralling.”
  • Ilka Chase
    Ilka Chase
    “America's best buy is a telephone call to the right man.”
  • Edwin Way Teale
    Edwin Way Teale
    “The difference between utility and utility plus beauty is the difference between telephone wires and the spider web.”
  • Bjarne Stronstrup
    Bjarne Stronstrup
    “I have always wished for a computer that would be as easy to use as my telephone. My wish came true. I no longer know how to use my telephone.”
  • Sholom Aleichem
    Sholom Aleichem
    “Gossip is nature's telephone.”
  • Cole Porter
    Cole Porter
    “My sole inspiration is a telephone call from a director.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Gr. far off + sound


In literature:

The telephone bell rang, and she went to answer it, thinking that Ruth might for some reason have called her up.
"The Film of Fear" by Arnold Fredericks
The men that had driven the cattle with Duke, having been paid off, were now past getting home, and there were no telephones in the Gap.
"Nan of Music Mountain" by Frank H. Spearman
You can head Banks off by telephone somewhere if we change our minds when we get a trail.
"Whispering Smith" by Frank H. Spearman
The telephone on the table before me rang.
"The Million-Dollar Suitcase" by Alice MacGowan
But if we were gunners in the army of our country we should be told by telephone just when, where, and how we were to fire our guns.
"Modern Americans" by Chester Sanford
The Sister Superior stepped to the telephone.
"Carmen Ariza" by Charles Francis Stocking
At a most exciting point the telephone rang.
"The Camerons of Highboro" by Beth B. Gilchrist
That is what the audion does in the transmitting set of a radio telephone.
"Letters of a Radio-Engineer to His Son" by John Mills
Most of his copy comes by mail or long-distance telephone from correspondents residing or traveling in the state.
"News Writing" by M. Lyle Spencer
He was responsible in a case like this, and he went to the telephone.
"The Come Back" by Carolyn Wells

In poetry:

I didn't ask him
To telephone me.
Roscoe knows darn well
Ain't free.
"Madam And The Phone Bill" by Langston Hughes
A serious moment for the
telephone is when it rings.
And a person answers, it is
Angelica, or is it you.
"The Boiling Water" by Kenneth Koch
A Microbe lingers in a Kiss, you say?
Yes, but he nibbles in a pleasant Way.
Rather than in the Cup and Telephone
Better to catch him Kissing and be gay.
"The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám Jr." by Wallace Irwin
And the bird flew parallel and parallel flew
The black pencil lines of telephone posts, crucified,
At regular intervals, post after post
Of thrice crossed, blue-belled, anonymous trees.
"All Night, All Night" by Delmore Schwartz
High on the telephone wires, the paltry pitiful thing
Hangs in rags and tatters and loops of string.
A slight breeze shakes it, but cannot shake it down.
It flutters and flutters forgotten above the town.
"Kites" by William Rose Benet
and once they crossed in jail; they crossed in bed;
and over an unsigned letter their eyes met,
and in an Asian city
directionless & lurchy at two & three,
or trembling to a telephone's fresh threat,
and when some wired his head
"Dream Song 45: He stared at ruin. Ruin stared straight back" by John Berryman

In news:

President of Velocity Telephone Jim Hickle, photographed on Thursday, Feb 2, 2012, rents this space in the 511 building near the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Analysts who had been hired to assess terror threats worked as "ubersecretaries," answering telephones and performing data-entry jobs.
But in a 40-minute telephone interview with Today's Matt Lauer on Wednesday, he told a different story.
One victim wrote his telephone number in blood that ran from his head.
Imagine chatting with a computer instead of punching a series of numbers in an automated telephone response system.
"I have zero skills in any other field, so it was more of just this pause," King said in a recent telephone interview.
In early August 1991 a man who introduced himself as Andrei Stanislavovich Pshezhedomsky telephoned, saying he was assistant to Chairman Ivanenko of the Russian Republic KGB .
Parents were also notified via a telephone alerting system.
Telephone 35-02-55 or 32-20-57) has stores in the Hotel Plaza (Avenida El Prado.
"Always on the Telephone" from New York based five-piece The Ladybug Transistor.
"Always on the Telephone" is the latest single from the band's new release, Can't Wait Another Day.
TITUSVILLE — The 911 emergency service is back working within the 827 telephone exchange in the Titusville area.
First it was street-corner phone booths and home delivery of telephone books.
Silent Knight releases non- proprietary fire fighter telephone system.
The Silent Knight Fire Fighter Telephone System.

In science:

Reflected random walk was described and studied by Feller ; apparently, it was first considered by von Schelling in the context of telephone networks.
On recurrence of reflected random walk on the half-line. With an appendix on results of Martin Benda
Kak, A new method for coin flipping by telephone.
Testing D-Sequences for their Randomness
These complex stochastic networks have important applications to telephone call centers; see Gans et al. .
Martingale proofs of many-server heavy-traffic limits for Markovian queues
Kak, A new method for coin flipping by telephone.
A DHT Based Measure of Randomness
Kak, A new method for coin flipping by telephone.
Two Dimensional Random Patterns