A woman is a person who reaches for a chair when she answers the telephone. ~Milton Wright
Ever give your telephone number a thought? Its history is interesting.
On Valentines Day 1876, Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray showed up at the US Patent Office within 2 hours of each other, each in hope of obtaining a patent on the "telephone". US law states the first in the door wins, which explains why you've never heard of Elisha Gray.
Patent in hand, Bell began demonstrating a practical telephone in June. It's practicality was evident to most save for Mark Twain, an investor in an alternative design, who had an opportunity to invest in the telephone directly with Bell, but he rejected the opportunity. According to his writings, he was a big fan of new inventions, but since he had previously invested in several that had failed, he turned down a chance to invest in the telephone.
By the mid 1890's some 300,000 telephones were in service, by the end of WWI 10.5 million, and studies at AT&T showed that every unmarried woman in the United States needed to be hired as operators. Remember from old movies or Green Acres how telephones worked? Pick up, crank the handle, the operator answered and you asked Central to get...
Necessity was the mother of invention.Once upon a time, in Kansas City, lived an undertaker named Strowger. Strowger's fiercest competitor's wife was an overnight telephone operator. Strowger believed, in his heart of hearts, that when someone wanted an undertaker overnight, that call was directed to his competitor, so he struck back.Undertaker Strowger, along with his engineer brother and several other smart guys, invented the switching system that allowed for direct dialing, saving millions of women from the horrors of operating a telephone switchboard. It took a few years for the Strowger switch to become commonplace in telephone offices, but Strowger and his investors eventually died wealthy men.