Photos: A visual history of the telephone

Updated 11:41 PM ET, Mon November 18, 2013
01 push button phone 1112 restricted01 push button phone 1112 restricted
1 of 20
Fifty years ago, the first push-button telephone was introduced. The electronic system featured Touch-Tone dialing and was offered to Bell customers on November 18, 1963. Click through the gallery to see a visual history of the telephone. Eric Marrapodi/CNN
Alexander Graham Bell invented the liquid transmitter, the first practical means of sending voice calls, in 1876. SSPL/Getty Images
This 1924 phone booth in London features a wall-mounted phone with separate mouthpiece and receiver. Topical Press Agency/Getty Images
The telephone has come a long way from the 1930s, when rotary-dial models like this one were popular. hulton archive/getty images
This rotary phone in Reading, Pennsylvania, could be used to summon police, ambulance or fire services at a moment's notice in the 1930s. FPG/Getty Images
Rotary-dial telephones with separate mouthpieces and receivers were commonly referred to as "candlestick" phones. This model from the mid-1930s features the rotary dial in the shaft of the telephone. Hulton Archive/Getty Images
This 1950s rotary phone features an attached mouthpiece and receiver. Retrofile/Getty Images
Here English troops call their loved ones in 1956 after being told to prepare for duty in the Suez Canal Zone. Payphones were common until cell phones became popular and affordable. Keystone/Getty Images
Some of the first push-button phones are pictured here in 1971. Fox Photos/Getty Images
French skier Franck Piccard talks on his mobile phone after an event at the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Allsport/getty images
This mobile phone was marketed by Racal-Vodac Limited in 1997 to serve either as a portable unit or as a mobile unit installed in a car. The unit was sold with a battery charger and extension antenna for areas with poor reception. SSPL/Getty Images
Cell phone manufacturers made great strides between 1997 and 2004. The Palm Treo 600 smartphone, pictured here in 2004, integrated telephone with e-mail and Internet-browsing capabilities. Stephen Chernin/Getty Images
Motorola's MPx wireless device, released in the second half of 2004, took the smartphone to a new level with Wi-Fi capabilities and a fully functional keyboard. Motorola/Getty Images
The first-generation Apple iPhone, released on June 29, 2007, had people lining up for days to buy one. A huge advancement in phones at the time, it incorporated a touchscreen, apps, e-mail, Web surfing and a host of other features. Getty Images
The BlackBerry Bold 9930, shown here, was one of many BlackBerry devices so popular in the early 2000s they were dubbed "CrackBerries." Popular for business applications because of their full keyboards and advanced e-mail capabilities, most BlackBerrys have since been eclipsed by flashier smartphones. Getty Images
The iPhone 4S, released in 2011, expanded on the iPhone's innovations with its high-resolution screen and Siri, Apple's voice-activated virtual "assistant." Getty Images
The original Motorola Droid was the thinnest of its kind at its 2011 release. Motorola's Droid Razr Maxx, seen here on display at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, has a longer battery life than previous models. Getty Images
Last year, Samsung's Galaxy S III overtook Apple's iPhone 4S to become the world's best-selling smartphone for the third quarter, according to research by Strategy Analytics. Sean Gallup/Getty Images
The iPhone 5 looks similar to previous models but has a larger screen and is lighter and thinner than the iPhone 4S. The phone also comes with a faster processor called the Apple A6, which connects to mobile carriers with a 4G LTE connection. courtesy apple
BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins displays two new Blackberry 10 smartphones January 30 in New York. The Z10, left, features an all-touch keyboard. The Q10 features a classic BlackBerry tactile keyboard. Mario Tama/Getty Images