Neato Connections At The Phone Company

Annabelle Ward-Hines talks about her days at the Citizens Telephone Company."These kids don't know how to hang up a phone!" says Ward-Hines, in mock disgust, as she sets the receiver on the museum's exhibit right-side up.

She should know; she worked at theBetter hang the receiver up correctly!  One of the original phones from the phone company. local phone company from 1942 until 1954. During those days, everyone had a party line, with 10 or 20 people sharing a line.  "People would get nosy," she says, "and people would pick up [the party-line phone even if it wasn't for them], and you'd have to say, 'Would you please put the phone up 'till I can get the party.'"

The heart of the operation: at the switchboard.Back then, "we had to ring the siren for the fire department.  The siren was above the telephone building."

In 1954, "it went into dial," she says, which means that people could dial their number directly, and no longer needed operators to dial numbers for them.

 

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