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

Re: History of Hayes Modem

Tony P. (
Thu, 12 Jan 2006 18:07:15 -0500

In article <>,

>> [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]

> The IBM history "IBM's Early Computers" by Bashe et al talks about
> early transmission efforts in the 1950s using modulation over voice
> lines. I believe this had to be done over private lines only since it
> was their gear, not Bell's. IIRC, IBM didn't push too hard in this
> area since they didn't want to anger Bell which was a major IBM
> customer. IBM was experimenting with various things in the 1950s,
> using including Western Union telegraph lines.

> Earlier, IBM also developed a radio teletype which presumably had to
> modulate and encode key characters.

> Bell came out with the Dataset in the 1960s. I suspect Bell may have
> had experimental installations for customers and itself before that.

> How much cooperation there was between Bell and IBM on data
> communications in the 1950s I don't know. Their respective histories
> don't seem to talk about it much.

> IBM's Watson Jr says the company was a bit insular and missed a 1950s
> opportunity to jointly develop xerographic printers in cooperation with
> Haloid-Xerox.

> As to other comments in this thread:

> 1) Dial up modems were available well before 1973, at least as earlier
> as 1968 as part of Teletype time sharing terminals. These were
> automatic in the sense they would answer a ringing phone line and
> connect up and disconnect and power down upon completition. They
> could remotely start/stop different tasks, like the paper tape punch
> and reader.

> One thing hasn't changed in all these years -- the high pitched answer
> tone we all hear and the responding tone. The subsequent handshaking
> may have evolved, but that original irrtating sound remains the same.
> The automatic teletypes had a speaker built in so one could hear it.

> 2) BBS: They were a lot like Usenet groups. The quality varied
> greatly from BBS to BBS and from poster to poster. Flame wars, which
> got way out of hand, were common. So were "bullies" and
> self-appointed "police". There was useful information as well plenty
> of garbage masquerading as useful information.

> I noted that there were very passionate techie advocates of BBSing as
> the "wave of the future". In truth, a very small percentage of the
> general population were involved in it.

> Around that time commercial services were attempting to provide
> features that the Internet would later give. Prodigy was an early
> one, designed for easy home access. Compuserve was the big boy. (I
> was a Compuserve subscriber but hardly ever used it because anything
> of interest cost extra.)

Back in the day a friend of mine worked for Radio Shack which at the
time was peddling CompuServe accounts. Each store had its own demo
account but you could configure boodles of email addresses on that one
account. So every time a new one came out it'd be shared around.

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