Some Interesting telephone trivia

Did you know ?


– The origin of the phrase ‘to put someone on hold’ was Alexander Graham Bell handing over his telephone instrument to his partner Mr Watson and saying, “here, hold this”.

– The very first phone call was “Watson come here, I want you!”
It was made on March 10 1876 in Boston, Massachusetts, between Alexander Graham Bell and his assistant Thomas A. Watson.

– As a tribute to Alexander Graham Bell when he died in 1922, all the telephones stopped ringing for one full minute.
On the day of Bell’s funeral, the USA and Canada paid tribute to him by closing down their telephone systems for a minute’s silence, affecting over 14 million telephones.

– Telephone operators used to be young men. But they were prone to prank calling and chatting up female callers… “In the first exchanges, boys were generally engaged as operators, but due to their inquisitive spirits, mischievous behaviour etc they did not give their best attention and girls began to replace boys in this role..”

– The automatic switchboard was inspired by undertaker rivalry. Almon Strowger was an undertaker in Kansas City, USA, who suspected that he was losing business to a rival. The rival’s wife worked as a telephone switchboard and he thought she was diverting calls to her husband. One morning his suspicions were founded as he read in the newspaper that a close friend had passed away and been buried by this rival. This was Almon’s incentive to replace the human operators (who were not universally loved) with an automatic switchboard.

“I am often told that the telephone girls will be angry to me for robbing them of their occupations. In reply, I would say that all things will adjust themselves to the new order of change. … The telephone girls replaced the messenger boy as this machine now displaces the telephone girls. Improvement will continue to the end of time, strike where they may.”

The new system was described as “girl-less, cuss-less and wait-less”.

– One of the first answering machines was popular with Jews. Valdemar Poulsen, the Danish telephone engineer and inventor, patented what he called a ‘telegraphone’ in 1898. The telegraphone was the first practical apparatus for magnetic sound recording and reproduction, and enabled telephone conversations to be recorded. This was followed by Willy Müller who invented the automatic answering machine in 1935. It was a three-foot-tall machine popular with Orthodox Jews who were forbidden to answer the phone on the Sabbath.

Source – EPH