In or around 1900, the Cochran Family had telephone service installed at their house. Austin’s telephone network only required three-digit dialing at the time: the Cochrans’ phone number was 627. In imagining how much their lives changed once they could make a phone call from their home, we can also think about how much our lives are shaped by how easy it is to communicate at a distance using words, images, data, and sound.
Here’s where the lab comes in: all of the technology that goes into modern telecommunications (your internet connections, wifi, cable, cell service, and plain old telephone) has been more than 100 years in the making! We decided to find out more about how people first started communicating over long distances in real time (the telegraph) and communicating wirelessly (the radio). We were surprised how much guesswork went into the development of each!