[Greek ‘far’+ ‘voice’]
A voice communication device including a microphone which converts sound vibrations into an electrical signal so that individuals can communicate over distances, unlike radio using a full-duplex signal enabling both parties to talk and be heard simultaneously. On 14 February 1876 Alexander Graham Bell filed an application with the US Patent Office for an ‘electric-speaking telephone’. Henry M. Boettinger (b.1924), a former assistant vice-president of AT&T, observes that ‘the telephone was the first device to allow the spirit of a person expressed in his own voice to carry its message without directly transporting his body.’ The first British telephone exchange was opened in 1879, with 7 or 8 subscribers in the City of London; telephones became widespread only after the Second World War. There is an asymmetrical relationship between the caller and the called, and telephone conversations tend to be sender-oriented. The mobile phone has dramatically extended the flexibility of telephony. See also gendered technologies.
http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Documents/short/phone.html Using the telephone