Heroes of the Switchboard and Phone Lines (Jun, 1935)

Huh, apparently at some time after this article was published an extra ‘e’ was added to employee because in this article it’s all employes and employe.

Heroes of the Switchboard and Phone Lines

FIRES, floods, earthquakes, tornadoes— these are some of the hazards that bring drama into the work of telephone employes. Keeping communication lines open during disasters is a vital matter. As long as nature behaves herself, as long as things go along normally, the work of the lineman, the operator, and the man on the test board is routine, but when trouble begins heroes are made.

How Solid-State Electronics Will Change Your Life (Sep, 1954)

This article is an exploration of the changes that will be brought on by the rise of solid-state electronics. The author does a very good job extrapolating what will be possible, with very few of the flights of fancy such as flying cars and domed cities that are common to articles of this genre. Almost every product he discusses is available now.

People do have video crib monitors, solar panels are available, but are not quite efficient enough to power a house, as he predicted. Video phones are only now really practical because of the bandwidth limitations spelled out in the article. We don’t have ultrasonic washing machines in our houses, but ultrasonics are used in a number of areas for cleaning. We do (did) rent movies for our color VCRs, and there are megahertz range computers managing very complicated factory production with very little human intervention. Not to mention touch tone phones and microwave ovens. Plus, if you showed that picture of a flat screen tv on the first page to someone without any context they’d probably guess that someone had hacked an LCD monitor to look all “retro”. By the way, if you’re interested in flat screen TVs, you should check out this one from 1958.

I’ve actually been wanting to post this article for a few years. When I was posting this piece about a pocket transistor radio, I noticed that the author used the word “stereatronics”, which I’d never heard. I googled it and found the complete text of this article, with no pictures, here. After reading it I learned that stereatronics was a word created for this article, which they hoped would catch on. It didn’t. I thought it would be perfect to post to the site, so I tracked down a copy. Then when I got it I realized that Colliers magazine was 11×14″ and I couldn’t fit it on my scanner. However, I recently bought an 11×17″ scanner for the site, and so here it is.

Stereatronics – A New Science that Will Change Your Way of Life

Tiny solids are turning the electronics industry upside down. Some vibrate, others change light to energy or energy to light, or direct current to alternating. Together, they spell revolution

A NEW science, stereatronics, has been creeping up on us in the last few years and has started to make major changes in the way we live. Few of us have noticed any difference; the changes have come so quietly that even many of the people who are closest to the new science are surprised at what it has been doing. Yet the evidences have been all about us.

—Television sets are a great deal less expensive now than they were a relatively few months ago.

—More and more tape recorders are being sold. Five years back, they were too costly for most people. Ten years ago, they weren’t to be had at any price.

Bell System Data-Phone (Apr, 1965)

Few things are as useless to a businessman as information that reaches him too late

When vital business information is tardy, something or someone usually suffers. Production is slowed up. A customer has to wait. A decision is delayed.

Remedy: Bell System Data-Phone* service. Connected with the business machine-virtually any type —it converts data (from punched cards or tapes) into a special “tone” language and transmits it over the same nationwide telephone network you use for voice communications.

Cordless phone (Nov, 1970)

Well, it is cordless. I doesn’t look all that convenient to tote around though.

Cordless phone

Shown in its recharging tray (immediate right), the Satellite Phone communicates via radio to a transponder (center), which is connected to the phone line. Transmitter and receiver built into a phone (far right) make it cordless. It’s $395 with charger from Keltner Research, 2126 S. Kalamath, Denver, Colo. 80223.

Bricks Test Storm Resistance of Phone Wires (Mar, 1941)

Bricks Test Storm Resistance of Phone Wires
To determine how well telephone wires will carry the extra weight of ice during snow and sleet storms, engineers string bricks along experimental open-wire lines at the Bell Laboratories field station in Chester, N. J. It has been found that an accumulation of ice one inch in radial thickness adds about twenty-two ounces to a foot of wire, or 200 pounds on a 150-foot span.



The intricacies of using the dial telephone come easily to students at a western secretarial school, where a four-foot dial was recently rigged up to explain its mysteries.

Not a dummy, the big dial actually works. It is connected with two telephones, an amplifying apparatus, and a loudspeaker. When the instructor dials a number, the loudspeaker reproduces, so that all may hear them, the typical sounds that will be heard; and the instructor explains to the pupils what they mean.

Extension Arm for Phone Holds the Receiver (Apr, 1923)

Extension Arm for Phone Holds the Receiver

THE strain of holding a telephone receiver to the ear for long periods has attracted the attention of inventors and a new telephone instrument recently placed on the market is equipped with an extension receiver that can be adjusted and held stationary in any convenient position, thus leaving the user’s hands free.

The receiver, to which the extension is attached by means of a flexible tube, is hung from a bracket attached to the telephone stem, while a ball weight serves to keep the hook down when the instrument is not in use. When telephoning, the user lifts the weight and places it upon a bracket, thereby releasing the hook. The extension is adjusted by bending the flexible tube.

“Ever Seen Your Telephone Switchboard?” (May, 1939)

This is pretty damn cool. I would have loved to take a tour of my local switchboard.

“Ever Seen Your Telephone Switchboard?”

It’s a fascinating sight — the inside of a telephone central office where your telephone may be connected with the whole Bell System.

Would you like to know more about the telephone and what happens when you make a call?

Your Bell Telephone Company will be glad to show you. Visitors are welcome and we believe you will have a most interesting time. Why not call the Business Office and arrange a visit?

You are cordially invited to visit the Bell System exhibit at Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco

Microphones Run This Office (Dec, 1932)

Microphones Run This Office

TENANTS in the Haas Building, Los Angeles, Calif., have “electrical stenographers” to serve them by means of a loud speaker system recently installed. These girls, while seated in a central office, greet callers in any office, answer tenants’ telephone calls, write letters, keep books, deliver messages, and keep undesired visitors out.

The One-Man Telephone System (Mar, 1956)

I love this. Of course it might be tough to compete when you’re only offering 16/7 telephone service.

Meet Bob Wilcox

The one-man telephone system for his town’s 370 party-line patrons.

BOB WILCOX, President of Inland Telephone Company of Caledonia, Mo., a tiny hamlet with only 370 party-line customers, can be found almost any day atop a pole fixing a wire. No deskbound executive, Wilcox is also business manager, maintenance man, installation and repair man and part-time switch-board operator.