Raising a Switchboard One Floor without Stopping the Telephone Service (Jun, 1917)

Raising a Switchboard One Floor without Stopping the Telephone Service

The novel expedient of raising a main switchboard from the first to the second floor of the telephone exchange at West Palm Beach, Florida, was accomplished recently without at all interfering with the telephone service. The telephone company had added a floor to the building and then decided to get the switchboard up on it in such a way that the change would not embarrass the subscribers.

The decision to do this was made before the floor had been completed, so that a large opening was left among the rafters of the new floor, big enough to permit the switchboard to go through on a temporary platform, supported by powerful chains. Back of the board the cables of wires leading to it had been extended so as not to hamper the movement of the platform.

Three telephone girls continued at work while the platform was being slowly raised and though it was a rather shaky operation, none of the operatives paid much attention to it, answering calls as though nothing had happened. Nor did the telephone users become aware of what was going on. When the switchboard had been lifted to the second floor, the placing of it in position was a comparatively simple task

  1. Rick Auricchio says: January 23, 200912:15 am

    Definitely cool.

  2. Al says: January 23, 20098:38 am

    Not sure I would have wanted to trust my well-being to three chain falls with no support or backup.

    Were it me I’d have done this with timber piles and jacks – slower but much less chance of mishap – if a jack failed it would fall the distance of one timber block. Slinging it with chains…{shudder}.


  3. Rick Auricchio says: January 23, 200912:55 pm

    Yeah, but that was 1917, way before OSHA…

    And it was Florida.

  4. Charlie says: January 23, 20091:57 pm

    Their SLA promised five-nines and damn it they delivered!

  5. Toronto says: January 23, 20095:56 pm

    How did they install the extra long cables without causing a disruption?

  6. slim says: January 23, 200911:27 pm

    In 1917 they had a vacuum cleaner with a disposable dust bag. Now, my wife has a new-fangled bagless cleaner and when you empty it dirt goes all over the place. What progress.

  7. Urban says: January 24, 20096:13 am

    It’s just a few seconds of work for two men to install a longer cable, one at a time, between the attachment box and the switchboard. Since you can talk to the operators while doing it, it’s easy to wait if a line is in use.

    Trivia: I’ve actually been an operator at a similar, but much smaller, switch board. In the military.

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