The answering machine has existed since 1898. Vlademar Poulsen patented the Telegraphone, a device which records sound on steel wire. Since then, many different forms of the answering machine have been created, but it was only in the 1980s that it became commercially available to everyone. The device automatically answers the phone, after a few ring tones, and the message is recorded on tape. The answering machine, as a separate object, ceased to exist with the introduction of voicemail--a system permitting the answering machine to be a part of the telephone itself.