Sound Film Now Repeats Dialed Telephone Numbers (Aug, 1930)

Not quite sure why this requires such a huge speaker, or any speaker at all…

Sound Film Now Repeats Dialed Telephone Numbers

THE principal convenience of the dial telephone was that it enabled you to pick your own wrong numbers, but even this is done away with now by a sound film which repeats the number which you have just dialed and enables you to correct the mistakes which you may have made.

The new invention does not necessitate the use of the subscriber’s voice. The subscriber merely dials the number and that number is called to central as the sound film automatically repeats the number through a loud speaker. The new method is expected to be put in use before the end of the year.

Miss Catherine Marie Shaugnesy, who was picked to record the various sounds when tests showed her to possess the clearest voice, is shown here listening to the numbers being repeated from the loud speaker while Sergius P. Grace of the Bell Telephone Laboratories dials the numbers.

  1. Rick Auricchio says: March 30, 200910:18 pm

    Does this contraption yell out the number really loudly so the operators downtown can hear it?

  2. Torgo says: March 30, 200910:18 pm

    I have come to the conclusion that either I am insane, or the writer of this article is.

  3. Toronto says: March 30, 200911:17 pm

    Torgo – why do you think those are mutually exclusive items?

  4. rsterling78 says: March 31, 20091:55 am

    “THE principal convenience of the dial telephone was that it enabled you to pick your own wrong numbers…”

    What the hell?

    Yeah, I’m not quite getting what this article is describing. Maybe it’s supposed to be like a cell phone’s display screen that shows the number you’ve dialed before you hit the “dial” button, but in an audio format?

  5. Hip2b2 says: March 31, 20097:12 am

    What this is (I think) is the merging of the new user interface, i.e., the dial telephone with the existing technology of the operator exchange. This doodad was apparently an intermediate step.


  6. Al Bear says: March 31, 200910:03 am

    That’s one big ass speaker the lady is standing in front on.

  7. DrRocket says: March 31, 200911:19 am

    What the hell is she wearing anyway? It looks like it’s made out of rubber…

    Wouldn’t surprise me, the whole thing sounds screwy.

  8. John M. Hanna says: March 31, 20094:52 pm

    Can you hear me NOW?! Good!

  9. Mike says: March 31, 20097:45 pm

    This was in rotary time, did she just say “click-click-click-click”?

  10. Charlene says: April 1, 200911:38 am

    Why do I have a feeling the editor plunked the photo down on some poor sap writer’s desk and said, “Make up a story that fits this!”?

    Is that a loudspeaker or a grain hopper on its side?

  11. George says: April 1, 20098:56 pm

    Al Bear, OMG I didn’t notice the speaker. Perhaps it was supposed to be heard downtown.

    The article certainly isn’t clear as to why someone would want the device which probably cost more than a car. Either (as rsterling78 thought), it gives you audible confirmation of your dialing.

    Another thought is for if you have a dial phone and a “number please” exchange, you could dial and the thing would shout the number you want to the operator. Sort of like those touch-tone beepie boxes they sold in the early nineties when “press 1” phone trees appeared in big numbers, but millions of Luddites still had dial phones.

  12. RagManX says: April 2, 20092:07 pm

    The comments are better than the article. I came to make the same suggestion #1 did, but was days too late. Clearly I need to not fall behind in my MM reading.

  13. jayessell says: April 2, 20097:43 pm

    My guess is it’s a primitive form of voice synthesis using sampled sounds
    going to a live operator acting as an auto-dialer.

    If Fred Flintstone had this, he’d have a dozen parrots,
    each parrot knowing a different number.
    Holding the appropriate bird to the phone
    dials the corresponding number.

  14. blast says: April 2, 200911:48 pm

    “THE principal convenience of the dial telephone was that it enabled you to pick your own wrong numbers…”

    A rare moment of sarcasm? Delightful.

    Plainly the thing finds an audio track (on a “sound film”) corresponding to the number you just dialed and plays it just after you finish dialing that digit, presumably for the careless person who can’t be bothered to look at his index finger while dialing.

    I hope the huge horn is required only for Miss Catherine Marie’s recording session, and not on the final product.

  15. jayessell says: April 3, 20096:19 am

    blast, you’re right.
    The phone speaks each number as it is dialed.

    The problem is, this is not the source of wrong numbers!
    (Well, some maybe, but in the minority.)

  16. Steve says: April 7, 20097:50 pm

    I vote for this device being the stupidest thing ever.

  17. Andrew L. Ayers says: May 5, 20104:05 pm

    I love the little comment on the welding goggles mod; sounds like a sure recipe for getting backsplatter in your eyes and/or a nice UV sunburn on your retinas (welder’s blindness)…

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