The history of doorbells shows inventors in the early 1800s finding solutions in their own invention-rich households. Like William Murdoch, a Scottish engineer and inventor. He built a loud doorbell (1817) for his residence in Birmingham, made of “a piped system of compressed air.”
Early doorbells were considered a novelty, not a necessity, and few people bought them. However, the technology continued to improve. By 1897, a buzzer had been added to make them easier to hear. The buzzing sound was less intrusive and shrill than a bell.
Until the early 1930s, most doorbells were loud electric buzzers. Musical chimes with pleasing tones became popular in the 30s. The Depression and WWII quieted development, which surged again in popularity during the 1950s. In the mid-1960s, decorative and multifunctional door chimes became more popular.
Many inventions have become obsolete, buried by new technology. House phones have been made nearly extinct by cell phones, for example. However, the doorbell remains a valuable, useful part of a modern home.