What’s in a Halloo?

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Old Telephone“Halloo” was a word used primarily by Ferrymen and hunters to call to their hounds. It was also used by Charles Dickens in 1850 and in 1857 by Thomas Hughes in a book called Tom Brown’s Schooldays purportedly read by Thomas Edison.

So it makes sense that when Edison first discovered the principle of recorded sound on July 18th, 1877, the first word he uttered into the phonograph was “Halloo!”

As Edison said at the time, “I tried the experiment, first on a strip of telegraph paper and found that the point made an alphabet. I shouted the word “Halloo! Halloo!” into the mouthpiece, ran the paper back over the steel point, and heard a faint “Halloo! Halloo!” in return! I determined to make a machine that would work accurately and gave my assistants instructions, telling them what I had discovered.”

“Halloo” eventually morphed into “Hello” and today it’s what we all say on the phone s a greeting… but it all started with a simple “Halloo!”


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