Pushbuttons replace dials on telephone (Apr, 1964)

Pushbuttons replace dials on telephone

Tests in regular service last winter at Carnegie and Greensburg, Pa., suburbs of Pittsburgh, have shown it’s easier and more than twice as fast to press buttons for a phone call than it is to twirl a dial. As each “touch-tone” button is pushed, it sounds a pleasing musical tone.

Bell is introducing the phone area by area, will nave it in general use within the next 10 years.

Linemen Train on Grove of Junior Phone Poles (Feb, 1951)

Linemen Train on Grove of Junior Phone Poles
This is how you learn to climb poles in the Air Force. The grove of stub poles makes an open-air classroom for future linemen at Warren Air Base in Wyoming. The poles last about a month—by then the students’ spikes gouge them so badly they must be replaced.

Mike and Speaker on Phone Make Talk More Convenient (Apr, 1933)

Mike and Speaker on Phone Make Talk More Convenient

THE latest gadget for attachment to your telephone is an amplifier and loudspeaker which permits you to speak and listen without holding the transmitter up to your face.

As shown in the photo at the left, the transmitter-receiver piece is hung on a special device which feeds into an amplifier that boosts both the incoming and out-coming voice. The former issues from a loudspeaker, while the latter is picked up by a super-sensitive microphone.

Dialing is accomplished in the usual manner. The device is the invention of Hans Schmidt, a Berlin Engineer, who labored for five years on the development of his creation.


If they had already perfected explosion-proof telephones in 1935, why can’t I use my cell phone at the gas station? Has this miraculous technology been lost?

A new type of explosion-proof telephone, exhibited in Chicago, is a recent addition to the roster of curious safety appliances developed especially for use in industries where dust, gunpowder, or inflammable gases present the constant hazard of a blast. Not only does the construction of the instrument guard against the possibility of an electrical spark igniting any combustible material in the surrounding air, but even the mechanical working parts have been designed particularly with a view to reducing friction so that a spark cannot be produced.



When a New Yorker calls one of the city’s principal telegraph companies on the phone to send a wire, he now sets in motion a super-robot so swift that a stopwatch often cannot time it.

Within the short space of one second, on the average, he hears the answering voice of one of 110 girls, who sit at desks as shown in photo above. This is made possible by the “automatic call distributor, ” called one of the most important inventions in recent years.

Invented Earlier than You’d Think – Pt. 2 – Answering Machines

If you missed it, check out the first post of the series: Fax Machines

I’d seen a lot of answering machines in later magazines but I was pretty surprised to see this one in a 1924 Popular Mechanics. It even features a dial indicator that shows how many calls the owner has missed.


Device Answers Phone and Tells Caller When You Will Return to Office (Aug, 1932)
This later product called the “Ansophone” is a an answering machine in the literal sense of the word. It will answer the phone and play a message to the caller, but it doesn’t record any incoming messages.


The Perfect Secretary—a Machine (Apr, 1933)
This gigantic contraption seems to be functionally equivalent to the first machine above. You’d think after almost a decade that the technology would allow a smaller device, not a bigger one. I’m guessing that it probably worked a lot better though.


Making a Telephone Talk Through Loudspeaker (May, 1929)

Making a Telephone Talk Through Loudspeaker

“WILL you speak a little louder please?” That request is unnecessary for users of a new telephone loudspeaker invented by H.O. Rugh, of Chicago, Ill. The installation consists of a horn loudspeaker operating from the telephone receiver through an audio amplifier similar to amplifiers used in radio. The latter is supplied with current from the house lighting circuit and is contained in a small cabinet upon which the telephone instrument rests.

Directory Dials the Phone (Jan, 1947)

Directory Dials the Phone

A NEW desk telephone directory not only finds the number you want but actually dials it for you. All you have to do is slide the knob on the face of the device, called an Auto Dial, to the name you want, then press the small lever at the foot of the machine. When the lever returns to its normal position, in five or six seconds, your call is made and you pick up the phone.

What the Telephone Map Shows (Sep, 1914)

What the Telephone Map Shows

EVERY dot on the map marks a town where there is a telephone exchange, the same sized dot being used for a large city as for a small village. Some of these exchanges are owned by the Associated Bell companies and some by independent companies. Where joined together in one system they meet the needs of each community and, with their suburban lines, reach 70,000 places and over 8,000,000 subscribers.

The pyramids show that only a minority of the exchanges are Bell-owned, and that the greater majority of the exchanges are owned by independent companies and connected with the Bell System.

At comparatively few points are there two telephone companies, and there are comparatively few exchanges, chiefly rural, which do not have outside connections.

The recent agreement between the Attorney General of the United States and the Bell System will facilitate connections between all telephone subscribers regardless of who owns the exchanges.

Over 8,000 different telephone companies have already connected their exchanges to provide universal service for the whole country.

American Telephone and Telegraph Company And Associated Companies
One Policy One System Universal Service

“Finger” Speeds Dialing (Sep, 1939)

“Finger” Speeds Dialing

Easily attached to the top of a dial-telephone receiver, a metal finger now on the market fits snugly into the dial holes, helps prevent inaccurate dialing, eliminates the danger of broken finger nails, and speeds up the dialing process by about ten percent.