Paul Taylor Opened the Lines of Telecommunication for the Hearing-Impared

Summarized by Amanda Hall

Paul Taylor was born deaf in 1939. He started school at the Central Institute for the Deaf and ended up in a school for the deaf founded by his mother. When he liked a girl in high school, she asked for his number, and Paul realized he couldn’t use the telephone the way other kids could.

After Paul earned his degree in engineering, he moved back home to get his Master’s degree. He met up with his childhood friend, Sally, and they were married within a year. In 1964 they went to the World’s Fair and saw AT&T’s Picturephone, which inspired Paul to start work on the phone problem.

Paul’s inventions started at home with a lighting system that would blink whenever the baby cried. He found out about a deaf physicist named Robert Weitbrecht who was working on transmitting typed words over phone lines. Paul soon created the first Telecommunication Device for the Deaf, or TDD.

With the help of Paul’s inventions, communication has quickly become easier through the decades for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Text messaging wouldn’t be around if it hadn’t been discovered that words could be sent through a phone system. Paul Taylor died in January 2021, leaving a great legacy behind.

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