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10 Fun Telephone Facts That You Don't Know

Updated: June 29, 2020

Admit it, you probably couldn’t live without your phone. Phones changed the way we live. They allowed us to get in touch with anyone around the world. Nowadays, your mobile phone has more computing power packed in it than the rockets that propelled humankind to the Moon, and you use it to surf the web, find different locations, and text rather than call. 

But telephones weren’t always so popular. The first telephone book was only 20 pages long. Interesting, right? Let’s take a look at 10 fun facts about the telephone that you don't know.

1. Nobody Really Knows Who Invented The First Telephone

You might know that Alexander Graham Bell was the first one to invent the telephone in 1876. But did you know that both he and Elisha Grey filed patent applications for the telephone on the same day - February 14? So even though Bell is considered the inventor of the telephone, he might be just the first one to get a patent for it. 

And it gets better. It seems that Bell and Grey weren’t even the first ones to invent the telephone, they were only the first ones to file patent applications for it. Antonio Meucci, an Italian-American inventor, created a telephone-like device 20 years before the two. However, due to hardships, Meucci didn’t patent his invention.

The US government issued a resolution honoring Meucci’s work on the invention of the telephone back in 2002.

Ship Captain Answering Phone

2. You Should Answer Your Phone With “Ahoy” 

Alexander Graham Bell recommended answering the phone using the word “Ahoy”. Thomas Edison was the one who recommended using the word “Hello” to answer the telephone, albeit when the word was spelled “hullo” or “hallo”. 

3. People Have Been Putting Their Phones “On Hold” Since Bell 

Bell was the first person to put someone on hold. Back then, the phrase literally referred to handing the telephone to another person. While talking to someone, Bell handed the telephone to his assistant, Thomas A. Watson, telling him to “hold it” while he tinkered with his instruments. 

The phrase stuck and we’re still using it now. 

4. Adolf Hitler’s Phone Is Considered A “Weapon” 

Adolf Hitler’s phone was sold for $243,000 at an auction in the US back in 2017. The phone was used by the Nazi leader to direct his troops and issue commands during the last two years of World War II. 

The auction house said that the phone was “Hitler’s mobile device of destruction” and said that it was “arguably the most destructive ‘weapon’” because it caused millions of deaths around the world.  

Martin Cooper Holding First Motorola Dynatac Phone
Martin Cooper holding first Motorola DynaTAC Phone - Credit: Wikipedia

5. First Mobile Phone Weighed 2 Kg 

The first handheld mobile phone was the Motorola DynaTAC. The DynaTAC prototype was released in 1973 when Motorola demonstrated that it could make and receive calls. However, Motorola didn’t make this phone available to the general public because they thought the phone was too expensive to attract buyers. 

The DynaTAC also weighed somewhere around 2 kg so it was too bulky to be practical for everyday use. 

6. The First Mass Produced Mobile Phone Cost Around $3,999

The Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was the first commercially available mobile phone and was invented back in 1983. The phone could store up to 30 contacts and its battery lasted for about 30 minutes of conversation. The phone weighed around 1.1 kg and cost roughly $3,999.

Ibm Simon Facts
Facts about IBM Simon - the first "smartphone"

7. The First Smartphone Was Produced By IBM 

IBM’s Simon Personal Communicator is considered the first smartphone in the world. The phone was released back in 1994 and it came with a touchscreen, a calculator, a calendar, email and fax capability, a sketch pad, an address book, and a world time clock. 

Even though the phone came with some impressive features, the phone’s battery lasted only one hour. The phone’s short battery lifespan and its bulky design made this model unattractive to the general public.

8. The First Flip Phone Was Invented By Motorola 

In 1996 Motorola revolutionized the telephone industry with its StarTAC model. This model was the first flip phone and it sold almost 60 million units, which is pretty impressive since one unit cost approximately $1,000. However, most mobile phone providers offered significant discounts for long service contracts so most people didn’t pay full price for it. 

The StarTAC was also the first phone to use a lithium-ion battery, the type of battery modern phones still use today, and the first to vibrate when a phone call came in. 

9. Nokia Changed The Mobile Phone Industry In 1999

In 1999, Nokia launched its 3210 model that totally changed the mobile phone industry. Nokia advertised the 3210 to young people, which was a first in an industry that usually targeted business people.

The 3210 sold more than 160 million units, making it one of the most successful phones in history. Nokia went on to dominate the industry for several years with other successful models such as the 3310 launched in 2000 and the 1100 launched in 2003.

Falcon Supernova Iphones
$48.5 Million dollar Falcon Supernova phones

10. The Most Expensive Phone In The World Costs $48.5 Million 

The most expensive phone in the world is the Falcon Supernova, which was priced at an astonishing $48.5 million. The Falcon Supernova is a customized iPhone 6 that’s covered in 24-carat gold and decorated with a large pink diamond on its back cover. 

The phone also features some platinum coating and it’s reportedly “unhackable” to keep its owner’s information safe. 

This model belongs to Nita Ambani, one of Asia’s richest people, whose fortune is estimated in excess of $50 billion. 


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