Families used to gather around the telephone just to marvel at the technology, the magical ability to talk to someone across the globe. While we might take Alexander Graham Bell’s invention for granted today, the telephone remains just as foreign and mysterious as it once was for young children. That fascination was on display in a recent TikTok that’s making the rounds on social media.
In the viral video, two kids use a landline for the first time and are spellbound by the experience.
@lmhurd1 Throw back to a land line phone 📞. #throwback #oldphone #nostalgic #amazing #kidsoftiktok #funny ♬ original sound - Leah
“Oh my gosh! The phone actually works,” one of the kids says after calling her sister’s cellphone.
“What? It ended!” her sister says after she hangs up, seemingly shocked that it worked.
The wholesome video has racked up nearly 2 million views, and it’s making plenty of TikTokker’s feel “old,” “elderly,” and “ancient,” though other viewers were more reflective.
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“This is cool to see their excitement. It's crazy how the younger generation will never experience some of the things we grew up with,” one popular comment reads.
“I love the pure joy! We do not control the era we are born into, and everyone should be able to learn about the past!” another user wrote.
According to federal government surveys, the majority of Americans have used cellphones exclusively since 2016, with 79% of children living in households without a landline in 2021.
Being an elder millennial is having committed your childhood best friend's landline to memory but not your current partner's cell phone.— Joshua Eaton (@joshua_eaton) October 3, 2020
Although Alexander Graham Bell secured the first U.S. patent for the telephone in 1876 and is credited with its invention, the Italian inventor Antonio Meucci devised a primitive model in 1849, and French engineer Charles Bourseul developed a “make and break” version in 1854. It took nearly a century before Martin Cooper of Motorola invented the first mobile phone in the early 1970s, another invention that would change the world.
Today, 97% of Americans own a cellphone of some kind, a 35% increase since 2002. Meanwhile, the U.S. telecommunications industry continues to grow, with an expected $140 billion in revenue in 2022, according to Statista.