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A Real Telephone

The only problem with the phone shown on the previous page (and directly below) is that when you talk, you will hear your voice through the speaker.

diagram of a simple telephone
A simple telephone

Most people find that annoying, so any "real" phone contains a device called a duplex coil or something functionally equivalent to block the sound of your own voice from reaching your ear. A modern telephone also includes a bell so it can ring and a touch-tone keypad and frequency generator. A "real" phone looks like this:

diagram of a real telephone
A "real" telephone

Still, it's pretty simple. In a modern phone there is an electronic microphone, amplifier and circuit to replace the carbon granules and loading coil. The mechanical bell is often replaced by a speaker and a circuit to generate a pleasant ringing tone. But a regular $6.95 telephone remains one of the simplest devices ever.

Telephones: Wires and Cables

The telephone network starts in your house. A pair of copper wires runs from a box at the road to a box (often called an entrance bridge) at your house. From there, the pair of wires is connected to each phone jack in your house (usually using red and green wires). If your house has two phone lines, then two separate pairs of copper wires run from the road to your house. The second pair is usually colored yellow and black inside your house.


phone company box
A typical phone company box that you see by the side of the road. Click here to learn more.

Along the road runs a thick cable packed with 100 or more copper pairs. Depending on where you are located, this thick cable will run directly to the phone company's switch in your area or it will run to a box about the size of a refrigerator that acts as a digital concentrator.

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