The history of the telephone is the story of its producers. It began with Alexander Graham Bell, who created and patented his model number 174465 in 1876. In 1877 the Bell Telephone Company was established. Bell himself became the owner of one-third of the shares of the Company, making him a very rich man. In 1878, Bell opened a subsidiary Company called the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company in New England. In 1879 in Brussels, bringing together all the companies under one umbrella, the International Bell Telephone Company was formed, which soon launched production throughout Europe.
Among the first companies to start manufacturing phones was Western Union. A year later, after the invention of the phone, Bell started gaining in popularity and, in 1878, with the prospect of realizing the telephone industry's potential, the Company began to actively develop in this area. By the end of the year Western Union had issued 56,000 phones.
In Europe too there were innovators, such as Ericsson and Siemens, who in 1877 almost simultaneously began producing phones.
Everyone knows the expression 'good old Siemens' but very few people know that the Company began to manufacture phones at the dawn of the telephone. The telephone was patented in 1876 and, in 1877, the German Siemens and Halske plant in St. Petersburg started producing handsets with two tubes: one for receiving sound, the other for speaking. The Company was headed by one of the Siemens brothers, a talented engineer called Karl Siemens. He began his business by laying telegraph cable in 1853. Already in 1895, after more than 40-years of work, Karl Siemens was awarded the hereditary title of 'Russian nobleman'.
No less famous was the Company L.M. Ericsson, established by Swede Lars Magnus Ericsson on April 1, 1876. In 1881, the Swedish national telephone Association announced a competition for the supply of equipment. The competition was won by Ericsson. Soon the Association launched its own phone, which led to sharp competition. Ericsson then started telephone production for export: to Norway, Denmark, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and Russia. In St. Petersburg, L.M. Ericsson opened its doors in 1897.
In Germany, during this period, industrial espionage was widespread, so despite the diversity of firms (RTV, C. LORENZ, Berliner, Merk Telefonbau and Tsvitush to name but a few), telephones produced in this country were broadly similar to each other.
In France, at the dawn of telephony there were a large number of firms producing phones: Societe industrielle des telephones, Picart-Lebas, Grammont, J. Dubeuf, La telephonie generall, Electro-modern, Burgunder, Jacqueson, Aboilard, Berthon-Ader. All of them released different phone models using different materials but all of them had distinguished refinement, sophistication and beauty.
In Russia, the first company to mass produce phones was the Electromechanical Plant N. K. Geisler and Co.
A new telegraph repair workshop appeared unnoticed in 1874 (Pochtamtskaya Street, 1). In the workshop there were only three power machines with the owner and two hired laborers constantly working. The workshop gradually expanded and began to receive large orders, competing with such giants as Siemens and Ericsson.
V.O. Karasik 'Phone'