Smithsonian No, no, no. Institution, Joseph Henry, for inventing the electric doorbell back in 1831.
In the early 1900s, expensive batteries were replaced by transformers, allowing the use of a household current. 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. They were built with clocks atop the chimes and decorative plaques hiding indoor components.
How They Work
Hard-wired electric doorbell components include the outdoor button, wiring, transformer and chime or bell. The electric chime functions when the button, outside the home, is pushed, causing electrical current to flow into a transformer. The transformer takes the electrical energy from the circuit/source and transforms it to the lower voltage needed to power the door chime inside. The current activates a chime or some sound signal. The doorbell’s sound may come from a buzzer or a bell instead of a chime.
How Wireless Doorbells Work
Wireless doorbell systems are incredibly popular due to ease of installation. With no wiring along baseboards or inside walls, wireless receivers can be plugged in a wall socket (using a small transformer adapter) or battery powered. The transmitter is the button, which is commonly battery operated, using long-lasting lithium batteries.
When a visitor pushes the button, it transmits a radio signal to the receiver(s) inside the house. The signal activates a sound chip in the receiver to play the sound through a speaker. To avoid interference from wireless devices on the same frequency, several different radio channel options are available.