Tuesday, December 16, 2008

People didn't always know how to dial the phone

In 1927, they had to be taught how. Pacific Telephone made a silent film tho show people how to use the new fangled dial telephone thingamabobs.

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.

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