Go to FCC.gov
FCC Logo - Return to the FCC Home Page  
 Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau
 FCC site map 
Skip Topics Links
did you know
the fcc n you
what’s that mean
choose your zone
grades k - 3
grades 4 - 8
grades 9 - 12
Parents Place
Satellite Learning Center

Logo and link to kids.us

  answering machine
  The History of... Answering Machines

Valdemar Poulsen, a Danish telephone engineer and inventor, patented a Telegraphone, in 1898. It was the first practical apparatus for magnetic sound recording and reproduction. It was an ingenious apparatus for recording telephone conversations. It recorded, on a wire, the varying magnetic fields produced by a sound. The magnetized wire could then be used to play back the sound.

In 1935, Willy Müller invented the world's first automatic answering machine in 1935. The first answering machine was a three-foot-tall machine popular with Orthodox Jews who were forbidden to answer the phone on the Sabbath. The Ansafone, created by inventor Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto (Phonetel), was the first answering machine sold in the USA, beginning in 1960.

In 1971, PhoneMate introduced one of the first commercially viable answering machines, the Model 400. The unit weighs 10 pounds, screens calls and holds 20 messages on a reel-to-reel tape. An earphone enabled private message retrieval.

The first digital tad was invented by Dr. Kazuo Hashimoto of Japan in mid-1983. US patent 4,616,110 entitled Automatic Digital Telephone Answering.

Skip right Column Links
factoid header
On April 3, 1973, Martin Cooper made the first cellular phone call.



last reviewed/updated on 06/24/04 

Skip FCC Footer and Contact InfoFederal Communications Commission
445 12th Street SW
Washington, DC 20554
More FCC Contact Information...
Phone:  1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322)
TTY:  1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322)
Fax:  1-866-418-0232
- Privacy Policy
- Website Policies & Notices
- Required Browser Plug-ins
- Freedom of Information Act