TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: History of Hayes Modem

Re: History of Hayes Modem

Scott Dorsey (
11 Jan 2006 10:50:34 -0500

Justa Lurker <> wrote:

> Scott Dorsey wrote:

>> The Great Idea Finder <> wrote:

>>> Dennis C. Hayes invented the PC modem in 1977, establishing the
>>> critical technology that allowed today's online and Internet
>>> industries to emerge and grow.

>> Well, THERE is some pretty impressive revisionism. Hey, by 1977 there
>> were even kits like the Pennywhistle aimed directly at the
>> microcomputer community. --scott

> Yes, but wasn't a key difference between the two that the early modems
> like the Pennywhistle, etc. were more or less totally transparent to
> the data stream and the connection had to be manually dialed on a
> separate phone's keypad, the user had to listen for an answer tone
> before hitting "connect", manually disconnected at the end of the
> call, etc. while the Hayes modem was the first popular mass-market
> modem which also featured the escape sequence (+++), AT commands, call
> progress tone detection, etc.? The latter capabilities would put all
> modem operations truly under program control without need for any
> "hands-on" manual operation or intervention.

Right. That's a LOT different than "inventing the PC modem." In
fact, there were a lot of autodialers out there before the Hayes as
well. What made the Hayes significant is that it used only a single
serial port instead of two.

I think the HoneyDanBer uucp code still has stuff in there for dealing
with the pre-Hayes autodialers, even.


"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: My question would be, _who_ was the
inventor of the MO(dulate)DEM(modulate) in that case? If Hayes only
'refined' it somewhat, with 'smart stuff' in it such as 'AT' and '+++'
then whose idea was it to ship data over the phone wire originally? PAT]

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