The phone has gone from a fixture on the wall that connected you to a switchboard and a party line to a wireless device that uses satellite technology to connect you to the rest of the world. That's pretty dramatic. It didn't take very long, either, at just a little more than 100 years [source: Woodford].
Even though Alexander Graham Bell has been widely credited with inventing the telephone, an Italian immigrant named Antonio Meucci actually deserves that honor. Meucci filed an intention to patent the talking telegraph in 1849 but never proceeded with it, allowing Bell to file a patent for his version in 1876.
Today, cell phones are quickly replacing landline telephones. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a report covering the last half of 2007, nearly 16 percent of American homes used cell phones exclusively, and more than 13 percent of people received most of their calls via a cell phone even though they had a landline in their home [source: Blumberg]
Moving from advances in the way we use our phones to our passion for music, in the next section we'll explore recorded sound.