There is no doubt in my mind that the telephone invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 was one of those great inventions of all time.
The railroad companies needed solid communications to operate their systems and where ever there was a rail line there was telegraph. The surprising thing was that the telephone did not need the huge corporations to be propagated and little and big telephone companies popped up everywhere. It was really a big deal in our family when we moved into the section house in Langbank and for the first time we had a telephone.
In the early days of the telephone it was an outstanding tool mainly because it was so very much a manual operation.
My second teaching job was in Bengough and the principal of the school, Roy Bailey, who later served as an MP in Ottawa was a prominent man in his community.
As SaskTel took over the rural phones in the province monster mechanical switching gear was installed in each central office and the wonderful central operators of the manual era were replaced.
Getting a telephone line was a big deal and I had my first telephone in my trailer in Kipling in 1964. From the sixties to the eighties the telephone system did not change much other than the telephone companies developing better switch gear and reducing the number of employees. In 1984 we had very slow but workable modems that were connected to the telephone system and we could move data over the telephone lines with our computers. In the 1990s the telephone made one huge leap away from land lines as the mobile phone evolved. From 1984 onward we used the computer connected to the telephone system to send e-mail and transfer files. We began our computer business in 1995 and during the first few years did quite a bit of business with the school systems in the province which involved advertising. As I pointed out we had our computer hooked up to the telephone system in 1984 and I remember one of my sons fiddling with some software that he partly made and partly borrowed and he got the family computer to call up every phone in the community. Spam telephone calls now account for far more than half of the calls to most telephone numbers. Now just suppose you want to call your local bank, or any major company with which you do business. With e-mail I have a written copy of the message and my poor hearing does not impede the communications process. The telephone has evolved and devolved to the point where it no longer is really functional. This page is a story posted on Ensign, a daily web site offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. Though the telegraph had been around for a while and really moved the world closer together it was the voice on the telephone that really was a huge leap forward in communications. This meant that long before there was electrical power widely distributed there was the dot and dash method of communications covering almost all of the settled area of North America.

Here in Saskatchewan there were rural telephone companies operating in the Porcupine Plain and Weekes area right up into the 1960s when SaskTel finally came along and tucked them into its system.
Though the dial phone was secure it was a step backward from the amazing personal versatility of the earlier system. During the fifties and into the sixties telephone numbers had names for the exchange and then four numbers.
I was doing my graduate studies in Regina and my family was in the Yukon and each evening my wife and I met online to chat using our computer keyboards. At first there were radio telephones operated by SaskTel from towers and then came the cell phone technology that used computer technology with a tower system to link one mobile phone to a land line or to another cell phone.
The cool thing about the computer connected to the telephone system was that it could also send faxes and for that reason we never ever had a fax machine.
This expensive device has been available in the United States for almost two years but only became useable in Canada this past year. That is not what the telephone was designed for but because it could be done, sure enough it was done.
The no call business brought in by the government of Canada has helped but we still get those annoying calls. Give it a try and your call is answered by a computer that dishes up a menu of things that seem to be meant for no one and you give up and push a number and then you wait and wait. If you don't get me when you call the machine answers, before we had a machine we had SaskTel's voice mail. With an Internet connect and e-mail the telephone is really just something we have for nostalgic reasons. A regular telephone but it uses the inexpensive switching built into the Internet to direct his telephone calls anywhere in North America toll free.
Telephone, though we often think of it as a sophisticated and complex technology was relatively simple and there were telephones that ran quite nicely using lines strung along the fences.
Ours had a regular handset which came along after this version shown with the mouth piece on the front of it. You told her the number you wanted or just the name of the person you were calling and she patched your line to another and hand rang the appropriate code. Bailey used the Central operator like a secretary and if he was going away from the school he just called the operator and told her where he was going and if there was a call for him it followed him to where ever he was. The data calls were substantially less than voice calls and the actual carrier for the data was the railway telegraph system which had expanded into a data transmission system. It was not until 1995 that SaskTel made the Internet and its various services available to the public in Saskatchewan. I remember that not all schools were happy to receive advertising by fax and we also encountered some negative feedback when we advertised using e-mail. The telephone and its remarkable ability to connect us all together has made it a monster that no longer services the public.

I just hang up and I recommend you do to, there is no need to be polite to invasive advertising and outright scams. Each day my phone rings at least once for Shelley, sometimes for Dave, sometimes for the Co-op or somebody else. It is just a matter of time until most of us disconnect from the regular telephone system and use voice over IP, it is better, cheaper and simpler. If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us email.
For use it was probably about 1956 or even perhaps 57, only a year before we got our first television. This became unworkable as the number of phones multiplied and the public was quite annoyed when they had to dial seven digits just to get someone.
Quite remarkable really when you consider that this was only fourteen years ago come this May. The technology of the smart phone is interesting because essentially a smart phone is a hand held computer and my computer screen shows when my sons Blackberries are available for me to send a text message from my computer to their screens. They are full blown computers able to surf the Internet, send and receive e-mail, play games, do all sorts of computer tasks, do the work of a GPS (global positioning satellite) and when necessary be a telephone.
The evils of the telephone system are mostly excesses by users who have found ways to take those capabilities and destroy the functionality of the system. Wrong numbers are amazingly common so much so I really often feel no guilt whatever in wearing a head set to listen to television and thus be unable to hear the phone ring.
How often it is we call someone and get an answering machine or voice mail, what is the point of the phone. With our Macintosh systems we can talk face to face on screen with no head set and at the same time pass pictures and data back and forth during the conversation, way better than a telephone and no long distance charges of any kind. The draw back with the iPhone is that the carriers who support it are limited in the service area here in Saskatchewan. Then later your phone rings you pick up the phone and there is no one there, you wait sometimes more than a minute and someone in India or where ever is wanting to sell you something or claim you have won some contest you never entered. Anyone on the line and there were usually at least five parties on every line could pick up the handset and listen in. If they went to use the phone they might listen in by mistake not knowing someone was already using the line. But if you were a kid like me and someone needed to use the phone someone might just cut in and ask you to get off the line because they wanted to call someone.

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