Cloud Phone Blog

Voicemail Transcription: Milestones in the History of a Modern Convenience

Posted by Erica Berry

Aug 18, 2015 4:00:00 AM

Voicemail transcription is a modern day convenience. Not only does it allow users to easily read, manage and delete voicemail messages, it also saves time and reduces stress about missing out on important info. While the days of scrambling to jot down dates and numbers are long gone, there was a time when even traditional voicemail seemed liked a luxury. 

Here's a brief history of voicemail and the development of voicemail transcription: 


1877– The first public records describing voice recording were reported in a New York newspaper and the Scientific American in November of 1877, with the announcement of the phonograph by Thomas A. Edison, saying "the object was to record telephone messages and transmit them again by telephone." (Source: Wiki)

1877– In December of 1877, Edison applied for a patent and demonstrated the machine recording and playing "Mary Had a Little Lamb” and other popular tunes at the time. (Source: Wiki)

1914– Edison's phonograph business included a dictating machine (the Ediphone) and the Telescribe, a machine combining the phonograph and the telephone, which recorded both sides of telephone conversations. (Source:

1970's– Judah Klausner pioneered several patents central to voicemail transcription while doing work on early PDA technologies for his company Klausner Technologies. (Source:

1974– The mid 1970's saw the introduction of a simple, pager/beeper that was generally offered in conjunction with answering services that handled busy, no-answer overloads and after hours calls for businesses and professionals. Rather than recording a voice call, operators manually transcribed the caller's message, sent a page alert or "beep" and when the party called back, an operator dictated the message. (Source: Wiki)

1976– Robin Elkins, a blues-rock saxophonist, invented what became an important backbone to voicemail—a digital/analog storage technology—while trying to figure out a better way to record his music. His invention found a duel use, allowing paging and telecom companies to handle client messages electronically. Operators recorded a 5-6 second message which was delivered automatically when the client called the answering service. (Source: Gawker)

1979– The first modern day voicemail application was invented by Gordon Matthews. When he was on a business trip, he became frustrated that he was playing telephone tag while trying to contact the office. After the incident, he mentioned to his wife that he needed to invent a telephony system where people can send each other recorded messages and voicemail was born! (Source: Wiki)

1980– The term voicemail was coined and trademarked, but eventually became a generic name for all automated voice services. (Source: Wiki)

2000– Voicemail had become a ubiquitous feature on phone systems serving companies, cellular and residential subscribers. (Source: Wiki)

2007– Voicemail transcription was introduced to mobile users by Apple's iPhone. (Source: Wiki)

2007– Access to voicemail transcription from email or web browser through a third-party application was introduced by YouMail, a multi-platform visual voicemail service for mobile phones. By storing voicemail in the cloud rather than the mobile carrier's network, users were also able to access it through any web browser or by e-mail. (Source: Wiki)

2011– In January of 2011, Voxox consumer app launched voicemail transcription – the first ever to be integrated into a desktop messenger style application. (Source:

2014– Voxox Cloud Phone, a virtual PBX Service for one-10 person businesses, added voicemail transcription to its services on July 24, 2014 (Source:

Do you use voicemail transcription? Tell us why you love voicemail transcription and how it helps you keep your messages (and life!) organized – Twitter and Facebook.


Virtual PBX Cloud Phone - 30 Day Free Trial

Topics: Cloud Phone, Voice Communication, Small Business Productivity, Mobile Productivity, VoiP

Subscribe to Email Updates