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.

Four electrical channels make this system possible. Three of them are connected with the building’s electrical circuit and use alternating current. The fourth, leading from office microphones to the stenographers, derives its power from induction coils and batteries in series.

Each tenant has a complete office organization on his desk—in the form of six push buttons on a small wooden block. If he wants to leave word that he is going out, he pushes the button marked, “office assistant.” This flashes a light on the control board in central office, whereupon the tenant speaks whatever instructions he de- sires. By pushing any of the other buttons, he is connected immediately with the proper person. The devices do everything but think. If a tenant leaves without “checking out,” the act of walking through the doors registers him “out” on the control board in central office. If a visitor tires of waiting, he pushes a button beneath the microphone, and leaves a message. All transactions with the employees are private.

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