The answering machine (or in telecommunications jargon
, telephone answering device
) was invented in 1912 by Roman R. Gonsett
. The invention was not patent
ed. Photographs of this device exist. It appears to use a wax cylinder (similar to early phonographs).
In 1937, Bell Telephone invented an answering machine with magnetic recording, but it was only R&D. A commercial product was never manufactured.
September 27th is supposedly "Answering Machine Day" because there is a story that the invention of the answering machine happened on this date in 1950.
Years later in 1968 a garage-based operation named TronTech would create an electronic answering machine that used reel-to-reel tape. In May of 1971 they changed their name to PhoneMate, Inc. and marketed the first commercial answering machine. I believe they patented it.
Around the web, I have seen some dates stating the invention of the answering machine ocurred in the year 1904. I cannot verify this statement however. Due to the lack of who, when, where, and how I will only note it here.