A telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that permits two or more users to conduct a conversation when they are too far apart to be heard directly. A telephone converts sound, typically and most efficiently the human voice, into electronic signals suitable for transmission via cables or other transmission media over long distances, and replays such signals simultaneously in audible form to its user.
In 1876, Scottish emigrant Alexander Graham Bell was the first to be granted a United States patent for a device that produced clearly intelligible replication of the human voice. This instrument was further developed by many others. The telephone was the first device in history that enabled people to talk directly with each other across large distances. Telephones rapidly became indispensable to businesses, government, and households, and are today some of the most widely used small appliances.