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Telephone and PBX Installers and Repairers

History

In 1876, the first practical device for transmitting speech over electric wires was patented by Alexander Graham Bell. The telephone device Bell invented functioned on essentially the same principle as the telephones that are familiar to us today. Both transmit the vibrations of speech sounds by transferring them to solid bodies and converting them to electrical impulses, which can travel along wires. However, technological advances in telephone systems over the past century have turned telephones into powerful instruments for communication.

Within a few years after its introduction, many customers were having the new devices installed and were being connected into local telephone systems. Four years after Bell's patent, there were 30,000 subscribers to 138 local telephone exchanges. By 1887, there were 150,000 telephones in the United States. Long distance service developed slowly because of problems with distortion and signal loss over longer transmission lines. Over time, advances such as amplifiers on transmission lines, microwave radio links, shortwave relays, undersea cables, and earth satellites that amplify and relay signals have so improved service that today's telephone customers expect that their telephone can be quickly linked to one of many millions of other telephones around the globe.

As telephones became a crucial part of 20th-century life, a need arose for workers who specialized in installing, removing, and repairing telephone instruments and related devices. But today's technology has advanced to the point where fewer of these workers are needed than in the past. Once basic wiring is in place, customers can handle much of their own installation work, and telephones can be manufactured so cheaply that it is often simpler to replace instead of repair malfunctioning equipment.

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