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The History of Answering Machines

Valdemar Poulsen Nov. 23, 1869 - July 1942


The History of Answering Machines

1898 Telegraphone - Answering Machines

According to "Adventures in Cybersound: Valdemar Poulsen, the Danish telephone engineer and inventor, patented what he called a telegraphone in 1898. The telegraphone was the first practical apparatus for magnetic sound recording and reproduction. It was an ingenious apparatus for recording telephone conversations. It recorded, on a wire, the varying magnetic fields produced by a sound. The magnetized wire could then be used to play back the sound.

First Automatic Answering Machine

Mr. Willy Müller invented the first automatic answering machine in 1935. This answering machine was a three-foot-tall machine popular with Orthodox Jews who were forbidden to answer the phone on the Sabbath.

Ansafone - Answering Machine

The Ansafone, created by inventor Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto for Phonetel, was the first answering machine sold in the USA, beginning in 1960.

Casio's Contributions to Answering Machines

According to Casio TAD History (Telephone Answering Devices): CASIO COMMUNICATIONS created the modern telephone answering device (TAD) industry as we know it today by introducing the first commercially viable answering machine a quarter of a century ago. The product - the Model 400 - is now featured in the Smithsonian.

1971 PhoneMate Answering Machine

In 1971, PhoneMate introduced one of the first commercially viable answering machines, the Model 400. The unit weighs 10 pounds, screens calls and holds 20 messages on a reel-to-reel tape. An earphone enables private message retrieval.

Digital Tad - Telephone Answering Devices

The first digital tad was invented by Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto of Japan in mid-1983. US patent 4,616,110 entitled Automatic Digital Telephone Answering.

Voicemail - Voice Mail

U.S. Patent No. 4,371,752 is the pioneer patent for what evolved into voice mail, and that patent belongs to Gordon Matthews. Gordon Matthews held over thirty-three patents. Gordon Matthews was the founder of the VMX company in Dallas, Texas that produced the first commercial voice mail system, he has become known as the "Father of Voice Mail."

In 1979, Gordon Matthews formed his company, VMX, of Dallas (Voice Message Express). He applied for a patent in 1979 for his voicemail invention and sold the first system to 3M.

"When I call a business, I like to talk to a human" - Gordon Matthews.

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