This page was last updated: December 19, 2013
U.S. Patent Pending
One of the earliest usages of the megaphone instrument can be traced to the Viking's from the 8th to the 11th century.  It is believed that it may have used for hearing voices or other noises located considerble distances from the listener.  It is questionalble if the instrument was used for voice. It was primarily used as a trumpet or horn.
Around the early 1800's animal horns were used as a form of hearing aids for humans.   Due to the small size, it could be worn around the neck and easily fitted to the ear for those who where hearing impared.  Some modern horns are in use today.

1812 to 1814 - Johann Nepomuk Mälzel made ear trumpets for Ludwig van Beethoven. 
In 1898 at the University of Minnesota, students Tom Peebles and Johnny Campbell are creditied with the first megaphone usage at a sporting event.  It was used  to get the cheerleaders voice heard by a large number of fans to cheer on their football team.  Many are still in use today.

By 1903 Princeton University was also using the cone shaped hand held instrument.
The basic megaphone can be traced back to 3rd or 4th century Greece.  With a similar comparison to placing your hands around your mouth to project your voice, some Greek theatre masks contained a coned shape area around the mouth to help project the actors voice towards the audience.
In 1671 Sir Samuel Morland claimed to have invented the first speaking trumpet.  Several were claimed to have been made, however one is located at Cambridge University.  One was over 20 feet in length.
In 1954, the TOA Corporation created the EM-202 which was an electronic portable megaphone. This design used six batteries.   The concept was widely popular the following year during local elections.
Over the course of the following 56 years, the modern megaphone has become lighter, more effecient, contain special funtions, and piezo electric technology.  The basic function has not changed during this time period.  It is a talk only device capable of broadcasting the voice several thousand yards in ideal conditions.

Millions of these instruments are in use world wide today in a variety of industries, government, and operating conditions.
In 2011, Santa Cruz California senior audio engineer Keith Morin modified an existing electronic megaphone with the ability to listen as well as talk for Search and Rescue operations.  This capability added a completely new dimension to this electronic tool.

Testing of this concept yeilded results that allowed the operator of the instrument to talk and listen to anyone a hundred yards away.
June 1952, General Electric announces the first self contained transistor experimental megaphone.  Batteries for this design were located in the mouth piece.
Test Audio of small dog barking at 50 yards.  The Searchphone is not powered on during this test.  Test instruments were measuring the sensitivity of the megaphone pictured above on 10-07-2011.