And why did they want people to dial the phones? Because otherwise, they needed to hire more of these.
Hat tip: Adam Shostack at Emergent Chaos. And a shout-out to the Telephone History Pages, which has this picture of the formidable operator.
I have to confess that since I grew up in the 1960s - when all the operators in the Telco ads were blandly pretty - an operator like this would scare me into dialing for myself. Boy, howdy.
UPDATE 16 December 2008 20:48: And the fascinating story of Emma Nutt, the first female telephone operator (hired in 1878) is here.
To be an operator, a woman had to be unmarried, between the ages of seventeen and twenty-six. She had to look prim and proper, and have arms long enough to reach the top of the tall telephone switchboard.