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See how the telephone changed the world, time and time again

From its invention 140 years ago to the selfie-packed smartphone present, CNET charts the evolution of perhaps the greatest tech of all time -- the telephone.

Now playing: Watch this: The history of the telephone

Since its inception 140 years ago, telephonic technology has revamped human civilisation again and again. It was the promise of fortune and fame that saw inventors in the 1870s racing to be the first to patent voice-transmission tech, but it's the power to instantly communicate with any person on Earth that has sustained the telephone's popularity, turning it from a luxury item to a necessary part of modern life.

In CNET's newest special video feature, we track the evolution of the telephone, from pioneering early experiments conducted by beard-toting inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray, to transatlantic cable and revolutionary cellular networks. You'll get a detailed look at the breakthroughs and the iconic products that have marked the telephone's merry march through time. Clear out some space in your brain for a CNET knowledge transmission, and hit play now.

The telephone's story is still being written, and we're going to hear the next chapter at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week -- an annual deluge of new smartphones and crazy mobile inventions. Bookmark that page for all the latest news, video and general wonderment from the show. Just as soon as you've been regaled with our tales of the telephone, of course.

Filmed on location at the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre.