History of Pagers and Beepers

A pager is a personal radio device that allows the user to receive messages

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A pager is a dedicated RF or radio frequency device that allows the pager user to receive messages broadcast on a specific frequency over a special network of radio base stations. Here's a bit of the interesting history of this groundbreaking technology.

Al Gross

In 1921, the first pager-like system was in use by the Detroit Police Department. However, it was not until 1949 that the very first telephone pager was patented.

The inventor's name was Al Gross and his pagers were first used in New York City's Jewish Hospital. Al Gross' pager was not a consumer device available to everyone. The FCC did not approve the pager for public use until 1958.

Motorola Pagers

The name pager was first used in 1959 when Motorola made a personal radio communications product they called a pager. The Motorola pager was a small receiver that delivered a radio message individually to those carrying the device. The first successful consumer pager was Motorola's Pageboy I first introduced in 1974. It had no display and could not store messages, however, it was portable and notified the wearer that a message had been sent.

By 1980, there were 3.2 million pager users worldwide. At that time pagers had a limited range and were used mostly in on-site situations for example when medical workers communicate with each other within a hospital.

By 1990, wide-area paging had been invented and over 22 million pagers were in use. By 1994, there were over 61 million pagers in use and pagers became popular for personal use.

Are Pagers Heading for Extinction

However, with today's cell phones pagers are becoming an endangered species. Pagers sales are down and few companies still make pagers.

Older one-way pagers are being replaced by more sophisticated messaging tools, such as two-way pagers.

How Do Pagers Work

Pagers or beepers are portable communication and messengering devices. One person sends a text message using a touch-tone telephone or even an email that gets forwarded to the pager of the person they want to talk to. Then the person carrying the pager either gets an audible beep or vibration that lets them know that a message is incoming. An incoming phone number or text message is displayed on the pagers' LCD screen.

Motorola History

The company was founded in 1928 by Paul V. Galvin and began as the Galvin Manufacturing Corporation of Chicago, Illinois.

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Bellis, Mary. "History of Pagers and Beepers." ThoughtCo, Apr. 19, 2017, thoughtco.com/history-of-pagers-and-beepers-1992315. Bellis, Mary. (2017, April 19). History of Pagers and Beepers. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-pagers-and-beepers-1992315 Bellis, Mary. "History of Pagers and Beepers." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-pagers-and-beepers-1992315 (accessed January 24, 2018).