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d) Girl-less wait-less telephone switching

d) Girl-less wait-less telephone switching

25.03.2019

 

Almon B. Strowger owned a mortuary business in Kansas City. As the story goes, he had a competitor whose wife was an operator at the local manual telephone exchange. Often, calls for Strowger were deliberately put through to his competitor. This frustrated Strowger who, after years of complaining to the telephone company, decided to do away with human operators. With help from his nephew and others, he developed the first automated telephone switch out of electromagnets and hat pins. A patent was issued in 1891 and the Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange Company was formed. In 1892, the first Strowger exchange was opened for public service with about 75 subscribers and capacity for 99. Strowger bragged that his exchanges were "girl-less, cuss-less, out-of-order-less and wait-less." Over time, the company was consumed by giants of the telecommunications industry such as AT&T, Verizon, GTE and Lucent Technologies.

(Entry contributed by Rodolfo Feick.)

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