Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Almon Strowger

Almon ran a funeral parlor in Kansas City in the 1880's.  His nearest competitor's wife worked for the telephone company as a night operator, these were the days of "Hello..Central..."  Strowger believed, but could never prove, that if grandma died during the night and if her family telephoned for funeral director their calls were directed to his competitor.  The new phone thing wasn't working for him.

In typical American can-do spirit Strowger first got mad then got even.  Always a tinkerer, he became one of the great unsung industrial heroes.  On this date in 1889 he applied  for, and was later awarded, a patent for an automated telephone switching system.  Strowger invented dial telephone service.

Hello central was out, direct dial was in.

Dial telephones were a boon for the telephone companies of the world.  About that time, a study conducted for American Bell concluded that because of the explosive growth of telephone service, by 1910 every unmarried female in America would need to be a  telephone operator. So much for consultants


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