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November 30, 2016

How to Use the Dial Telephone (1927)

From Public Domain Review:


A film by the American Telephone and Telegraph company, showing through both animation and live action how to use the rotary dial of the telephone.

A woman shows how the numbers should be dialed and the mistakes that should be avoided, such as dialing before having picked up the receiver or not finishing the series of numbers properly.

The first telephones of the 1870s were arranged in pairs, meaning that one could only call up the person with the other telephone.

With the invention of the telephone exchange, callers could be connected to other numbers and switched between lines.

The first commercial telephone exchange in the United States opened in Connecticut in 1878.

The video above shows the change to automatic switching, meaning that one could dial the number without having to go through the telephone exchange, although dialing number 8 does connect the caller to the information center where a group of women are frenetically looking through telephone directories in order to find the telephone number needed.


When I was a senior at U.C.L.A. (1969-70) I worked for the telephone company (GTE) 20 hours/week as an information operator. 

It was easy and not at all frenetic: I had a right-angle cubicle with all five Los Angeles-area directories arrayed along the two sides and a comfortable swivel chair to move easily between them.

After the first week it was boring, but not so unbearable I couldn't continue until I'd saved enough money to go to Europe once school was out.

November 30, 2016 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


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