Trivia

Hard

The Decibel Originated From Methods Used To Measure What?

Bird Song
Volcanic Explosion Distance
Telegraph Signals
Gunfire Volume
A 1905 encyclopedia illustration of a telegraph sounder.
Unknown Artist/Wikimedia

Answer: Telegraph Signals

The decibel as we now know it, a logarithmic unit used to measure the intensity of a sound source and/or the power of other energy sources like cellular transmissions, was created by Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1924 when researchers there proposed that telephone signal strength should be measured in Transmission Units (TUs).

One TU was defined such that the number of TUs was ten times the base-10 logarithm of the ratio of measured power to a reference power level. In 1928, they formally changed the name from TUs to decibels, being one tenth of a newly defined unit for the base-10 logarithm of the power ratio. It was named the bel, in honor of Alexander Graham Bell.

The decibel wasn’t the first attempt to measure transmission power, however, and what became the decibel and our accepted way of measuring everything from how loud a rock concert is to how strong a cellular signal our phones receive, all started with early attempts to quantify signal loss in telegraph and telephone circuits. Before the TU/decibel, there was the Miles of Standard Cable (MSC) measurement.

One unit of MSC corresponded to the smallest detectable change as caused by a drop in power over a one mile length of standard telephone cable (approximately 19 gauge) at a frequency of 5,000 radians per second (795.8 Hz). The decibel was a significant improvement over the MSC standard because the measurement was relative to the power source and could be applied across all mediums (not just telegraph and telephone wires).

Trivia

Easy

Astronauts Use What Inside Their Helmets To Scratch Their Noses?

Trivia

Easy

The Largest Group Of Mammals, By Species, Is Composed Of?

Trivia

Hard

Which Widely Used Internet Acronym Is Coincidentally Self-Referential In Dutch?

Trivia

Very Hard

A Big Chunk Of Which Video Game’s Advertising Budget Was Spent On Educational Videos?

Trivia

Hard

Despite How Foul They Smell, Cities Plant Ginkgo Trees By The Thousands Because They’re?

Trivia

Hard

“Buck”, The Common Slang Term For U.S. Dollars, Originated With Which Of These Industries?

Trivia

Hard

The Blood Of What Marine Animal Is Used In Modern Medicine?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Films Led To Increased Popularity And Sales Of Wayfarer Sunglasses?

Trivia

Hard

What Game Limited Pirated Copies To Firing Only Chickens From In-Game Guns?

Trivia

Easy

What Food, When Properly Sealed, Keeps Forever?