Saturday, January 20, 2007

first voicemail system

While many tinkerers and inventors, including Thomas Edison, worked on devices to record telephone calls, the first commerically successful answering machine was the 1936 Ipsophon, developed in Switzerland.

Ipsophons recorded sound magnetically on steel tape, and were used in large businesses and in phone company central offices.

When people wanted to retrieve their messages, they dialed into the Ipsophon, and whistled or made other sounds to initiate and control playback. (Photo and info from

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