Exhibition - Automatic Electric Dial Candlestick Telephone

Friday, Aug 23, 2019 from 9:00am to 2:00pm

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This is the first automatic dial telephone, invented around 1905.  With its 11-digit dial, customers could call directly without going through an operator.  The inventor, Almon Strowger, was an undertaker in Kansas City in the late 1800s.  The wife of his only competitor worked the switchboard at the local telephone exchange and when a caller asked for Strowger, she would put the call through to her husband.  After years of complaining, Strowger developed the first automatic telephone switch out of electromagnets and hat pins.  On November 3, 1892, the first Strowger exchange was opened for public service with about seventy-five subscribers.  When his system made its debut, Strowger bragged that his exchanges were "girl-less", "cuss-less", "out-of-order-less" and "wait-less".  This particular telephone was made by the Automatic Electric Company.

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