A telephone is an electric tool. Using a telephone, two people who are in different places can talk. Early telephones needed to be connected with wires. Now telephone calls can be sent with radio. This is also called wireless.
Most people believe that it was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. He was a 29-year old Scotsman living in the USA. But Antonio Meucci developed and patented a working telephone in the USA in 1871. This was five years earlier than Bell. Meucci was unable to find someone to provide him with the money to finance his project. His wife was sick and had to stay in bed. Meucci invented his "teletrofono" to talk to her while he worked in his workshop.
Types of telephones.
There are many different types of telephone. A telephone that you can carry around with you is called a mobile phone or cell phone. These became popular in the late 1980s. These days most people carry mobile phones and in some cities or countries it is unusual to not have one. Some mobile phones are able to make telephone calls using satellites instead of masts on the ground, which means people can make calls from anywhere in the world.
Computers can use a machine called a modem to talk to other computers over a telephone line. This allows a computer to connect to other computer networks including the Internet.
In most countries there are public telephones. To use one people have to pay with coins, a credit card or a prepaid card.
Most countries have a telephone network. In less developed countries cell phones are used as a cheaper and faster way to bring modern communications to the countryside.

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