The Fascinating and Surprising History of the First Cell Phone

Cell phones started out as train phones.
Loukia Papadopoulos

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Can you imagine your life without a cell phone? If the answer is "no way!" do not worry. Most people nowadays cannot even conceive of a life without these devices. But there was a time when they didn't exist.

How did cell phones come to be and how did they grow to be so ubiquitous? In this video, we explore the fascinating and surprising history of cell phones.

The invention of the cell phone dates all the way back to around 1918. At the time, German railroad operators began testing wireless telephones in their train cars.

This led to the foundation of Zugtelephonie AG in 1925 as a supplier of mobile telephone equipment for use in trains. This experiment went well and the following year saw the first public introduction of wireless telephones for first-class passengers on major rail lines between Berlin and Hamburg.

Next came the Second World War. And as horrible as wars are, a lot of technological advancements are made during those times. This war was no exception, seeing major advances in radio technology.

Handheld radio transceivers became common for military purposes. This led to companies offering mobile telephone systems for automobiles to the public in the 1940s and 1950s. As forward as these systems may sound, they actually required a lot of power and offered limited coverage.