Nathan Stubblefield’s ‘portable’ telephone, which needed a large transmitter, invented in 1908, the device came complete with an unwieldy metal transmitter.
A far cry from the tiny mobile phones in use today, the telephone was made up of a system of wire suspended between metal rods with the transmitter placed on a train carriage or boat.
When the vehicle neared, a signal was sent through the air to the telephone using magnetic fields. It could be heard near the other end of the wire through another phone.
One hundred years on, Stubblefield is finally being recognised as the inventor of the mobile phone. Just 30 years after the first proper long-distance phone network was set up, the Kentucky melon farmer was awarded the patent for his “wireless telephone”.
Stubblefield created the “portable” phone after managing to send his and his son’s voices between early telephones through the ground and even through water.
His device never caught on but now he is being honoured with his very own page on the Virgin Mobile website to mark the anniversary of his creation.
Virgin’s founder Sir Richard Branson said: “Nathan is the father of the mobile phone and I’m thrilled we can celebrate the 100-year anniversary of his invention that in some way went on to change the way the world communicates.”