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Telephone

Early Telephone and Telephone ExchangesCreated by: PICRYLDated: 1900
[WM. H. TAFT] ON TELEPHONE
The invention of the telephone still remains a confusing morass of claims and counterclaims, which were not clarified by the huge mass of lawsuits to resolve the patent claims of commercial competitors. The Bell and Edison patents, however, dominated telephone technology and were upheld by court decisions in the United States. Bell has most often been credited as the inventor of the first practical telephone.

Alexander Graham Bell was the first to patent the telephone as an "apparatus for transmitting vocal or other sounds telegraphically".

The telephone exchange was an idea of the Hungarian engineer Tivadar Puskás (1844 - 1893) in 1876, while he was working for Thomas Edison on a telegraph exchange. Before the invention of the telephone switchboard, pairs of telephones were connected directly with each other, practically functioned as an intercom. Although telephones devices were in use before the invention of the telephone exchange, their success and economical operation would have been impossible with the schema and structure of the contemporary telegraph systems.

A telephone exchange was operated manually by operators, or automatically by machine switching. It interconnects individual phone lines to make calls between them.

The first commercial telephone exchange was opened at New Haven, Connecticut, with 21 subscribers on 28 January 1878, in a storefront of the Boardman Building in New Haven, Connecticut. George W. Coy designed and built the world's first switchboard for commercial use. The District Telephone Company of New Haven went into operation with only twenty-one subscribers, who paid $1.50 per month, a one-night price for a room in a city-center hotel.

Coy was inspired by Alexander Graham Bell's lecture at the Skiff Opera House in New Haven on 27 April 1877. In Bell's lecture, during which a three-way telephone connection with Hartford and Middletown, Connecticut, was demonstrated, he first discussed the idea of a telephone exchange for the conduct of business and trade.
400 Media in collectionpage 1 of 4
Professor Bell in Lyceum Hall, Salem, addressing a party of scientific men in Boston / From sketches by E.R. Morse.

Professor Bell in Lyceum Hall, Salem, addressing a party of scientific...

Print shows the inventor Alexander Graham Bell demonstrating his experimental telephone, which had a connection between Salem and Boston, Massachusetts. Bell had given previous demonstrations in February 1877 a... More

Patent Drawing for F. Shaw's Head Telephone
"Speak out" N.Y. Herald

"Speak out" N.Y. Herald

President-elect Grover Cleveland holds a telephone receiver to his ear. Behind him on the wall is a portrait of President Chester A. Arthur captioned, "Pres. of U.S. till March 4, 1885." No copyright informati... More

"Here's a health to the mugwumps, who helped in the strife, and have made this the happiest day of my life!" / F. Opper.

"Here's a health to the mugwumps, who helped in the strife, and have m...

Illustration shows Samuel J. Tilden sitting in a rocking chair, raising a glass of the "Elixir of Youth" over his head and holding a telephone receiver to his ear; hanging on the wall is a plaque that states "T... More

Don't they wish they had never taken hold of it! / J. Keppler.

Don't they wish they had never taken hold of it! / J. Keppler.

Illustration shows three men, Isham G. Harris, Augustus H. Garland, and Joseph E. Johnston holding hands and onto connectors attached to an electrical device operated by a figure labeled "Pan Electric Co." and ... More

George Witherell, the murderer of Wall & McCain. Lynched Dec. 4, 1888

George Witherell, the murderer of Wall & McCain. Lynched Dec. 4, 1888

Photograph shows George Witherell's lifeless body hanging from a telephone pole in Canon City, Colorado; a crowd stands nearby. Copyright 1906. Title from item.

[Norwegian chalet in front of the Telephone Building (with tower), Paris Exposition, 1889]
Hello! Santa Claus

Hello! Santa Claus

Girl speaking into telephone. 2206x U.S. Copyright Office. Sold only by Underwood & Underwood. Copyright by Strohmeyer & Wyman.

Tel. Co. [i.e., Telephone Company] switchboard
Panorama of tel. Co. [i.e., Telephone Company] switchboard
Telephone co.-central switchboard
4 women at tel. [i.e., telephone] switchboard
Tel. Co. [i.e., Telephone Company] switchboard
Tel. Co. [i.e., Telephone Company] switchboard
Divine right vs arbitration / K.

Divine right vs arbitration / K.

Print shows German Emperor William II talking on a telephone labeled "To the Hague", he is holding papers that state "Plan of Arbitration Submitted by the United States"; he is wearing armor and a robe, his swo... More

Hello Central! / photographed and published by B.W. Kilburn, Littleton, N.H.

Hello Central! / photographed and published by B.W. Kilburn, Littleton...

Girl holding doll and making telephone call. 12968 U.S. Copyright Office. No. 12857.

Blind girls operating telephone switchboard
Joshua W. Alexander
The Bell Telephone office at Hamburg, N. Y.

The Bell Telephone office at Hamburg, N. Y.

Photograph shows an interior view of telephone office with four workers; two women operators work at switchboard. Copyright by John Van Epps, Hamburg, N. Y. Title from item.

[Unidentified man with telephone operator]
Melba & wireless phone
E.H.R. Green

E.H.R. Green

Photograph shows businessman Edward Howland Robinson "Ned" Green (1868-1936), son of Hetty Green with telephones, microphone and other equipment. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2015)

Admiral Goodrich receiving wireless telephone
Frank on phone
Starr Murphy seated at desk with telephone
"Worth hearing"

"Worth hearing"

Photograph shows a young woman, standing, posed using wall mounted telephone. Copyright 1900 by Flora Kaufman, of Dayton, Ohio. Title from item.

Hello! Hello! Is that so? Whitney Opera Co.? All right save me a box. What's the opera? A Normandy wedding. That's funny! Be sure and save the box
Hello! Hello! Is that so? Whitney Opera Co.? All right save me a box. What's the opera? A Normandy wedding. That's funny! Be sure and save the box

Hello! Hello! Is that so? Whitney Opera Co.? All right save me a box. ...

Created by "... rdson & Foos ... N.Y." Different version of poster: POS - TH OPT - .N65, no. 1a (C size). Lower left and right corners missing. Forms part of: Theatrical poster collection (Library of Congress)

Officer on boat deck telephoning by Collins system between Japanese ships
[Stairs, hall with desk phone]
Field Telephone, U.S.A.
"Baby Service, Inc." Washington, D.C., Aug. 18. "Enjoy your baby, let us work for him" is the motto of a brand new business started here recently by Mrs. John McGee, the former Narcissa Sullivan, daughter of Mark Sullivan, the political writer. Baby service, Inc. will prepare and deliver baby food made according to special formulae, sterlize bottles, provide girls who will stay with children at night, shop for supplies, make layettes, or render baby needs, scaling all prices to the clients purse. #1--Getting a call for baby service, Mrs. McGee, at the phone
[Illustration to popular song, "Hello Central, give me Heaven"]

[Illustration to popular song, "Hello Central, give me Heaven"]

Shows child in living room about to use telephone. Lantern slide proof copyrighted by J.D. Cress. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.

[Illustration to popular song, "Hello Central, give me Heaven"]

[Illustration to popular song, "Hello Central, give me Heaven"]

Shows child in living room about to use telephone. Lantern slide proof copyrighted by J.D. Cress. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card.

Hello Central, give me heaven

Hello Central, give me heaven

Small girl seated on man's lap, wall telephone in background. Photo copyrighted by J.D. Cress. No. 4. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Children Misc.; Death Se... More

From Point Sublime, Colorado view, photochrome print postcard.

From Point Sublime, Colorado view, photochrome print postcard.

Copyright 1901 by Detroit Photographic Co. Title from item. Title on inventory list: From Pt. Sublime. Caption for glass transparencies showing details of image (LC-D4-10592 LLC) & (LC-D4-10592 LC) lists title... More

[Blanche Bates, full-length portrait, standing, facing right, on telephone]
[Young girl playing with a wall telephone]

[Young girl playing with a wall telephone]

Photograph shows little girl sitting in chair with dog and holding telephone receiver to dog's ear.

Telegraph and telephone age. v. 20, no. 2, page 270
Portrait of Prof. C.W. Roush, principal of the Broken Bow Business College, and his stenographer, Miss Mable Holcomb.
Man and woman in an unidentified office

Man and woman in an unidentified office

She is typing; he is at desk surrounded by various appliances, telephone, fan, hot plate, percolator. H37663 U.S. Copyright Office This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card traci... More

Portrait of Prof. C.W. Roush, principal of the Broken Bow Business College, and his stenographer, Miss Mable Holcomb.
Bakery in Overton, Nebraska.

Bakery in Overton, Nebraska.

summary: Note: The man pictured in the window is talking on the telephone original size: 6x8

[Thomas W. Lawson, full-length portrait, seated at desk, facing right, on telephone, alongside ticker tape machine]
[William Howard Taft, three-quarter-length portrait, seated facing left, on telephone] / copyright by Harris & Ewing.
[Woman using early home telephone]

[Woman using early home telephone]

Photograph shows a woman, wearing fancy hat and dress, seated at a small table in the parlor, holding a rose, and posed using telephone. Title devised by Library staff.

C & P TELEPHONE CO. WIRING
[WM. H. TAFT] ON TELEPHONE
C & P TELEPHONE CO. SWITCHBOARDS
C & P TELEPHONE CO. MAN ON PHONE
C & P TELEPHONE CO. EQUIPMENT
C & P TELEPHONE CO. CLERICAL OFFICE
C & P TELEPHONE CO. EQUIPMENT
"Hello"

"Hello"

Photograph shows young woman using wall mounted telephone. Title from item.

Man in office on telephone with disappointed look: "Is this you, John?" "Yes." "Well--"

Man in office on telephone with disappointed look: "Is this you, John?...

Stereo copyrighted by Underwood & Underwood. No. (1)7893. No copyright renewal. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Photog. I.; Wit... 1906; Telephone 1906; Humor; Shelf.

[Santa Claus with children and toys: Santa in his workshop talking on telephone and surrounded by toys]

[Santa Claus with children and toys: Santa in his workshop talking on ...

Stereo copyrighted by Underwood & Underwood. No. U-87183-2. This record contains unverified data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Holidays; Santa Claus; Toys.

Man in office on telephone with disappointed look: "--my mother--"

Man in office on telephone with disappointed look: "--my mother--"

Stereo copyrighted by Underwood & Underwood. No. (2)7894. No copyright renewal. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Photog. I.; Wit... 1906; Telephone 1906; Humor; Shelf.

[Joshua W. Alexander, Democrat Congressman from Missouri, half-length portrait, seated with candlestick telephone in hand] / National Photo Co., Washington, D.C.
"At the telephone"

"At the telephone"

Photograph shows young woman, wearing fancy dress, posed with hand holding onto telephone receiver on desk and transmitter (mouthpiece) to mouth. Copyright 1907 by Charles H. Davis, N. Y. Title from item.

U.S.S. Walke, diver Stillson, P.A. [...] & G.R.W. Much talking to diver on phone
Taft at the phone

Taft at the phone

William Howard Taft, three-quarters length portrait, facing front, using telephone.

[William Howard Taft, three-quarter-length portrait, seated, facing left, talking on a telephone as he receives news about his nomination as the 1908 Republican presidential candidate from President Theodore Roosevelt] / Harris & Ewing, Washington, DC.

[William Howard Taft, three-quarter-length portrait, seated, facing le...

Title devised by Library staff. Publication date based on copyright statement: "Copyright 1909 by Harris & Ewing, Washington, DC." Photograph from a series known as "The Evolution of a Smile." Forms part of: Ge... More

[William Howard Taft, three-quarter-length portrait, seated, facing front, smiling while talking on a telephone as he receives news of his nomination as the 1908 Republican presidential candidate from President Theodore Roosevelt] / Harris & Ewing, Washington, DC.
[New York City Police Dept. activities: Inspector McCafferty, on telephone]

[New York City Police Dept. activities: Inspector McCafferty, on telep...

Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item. Photo by Bain News Service. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Police; Crime;... More

Field telephone operated by soldier of regular army, Sea Girt
[William H. Taft, full-length portrait, standing, facing left, with hand on telephone]
The telephone girl

The telephone girl

Photograph shows young woman, wearing lacy dress, seated, posed using telephone. Copyright 1909 by Rotograph Co., New York. Title from item.

[Young woman with telephone]

[Young woman with telephone]

Photograph shows young woman, wearing lacy dress, seated, posed using telephone. Copyright 1909 by Rochester Photo Press, Rochester, N. Y. No. 105. Title devised by Library staff.

[Signal station in the Rockies, showing telephone installation and signal man using heliograph]

[Signal station in the Rockies, showing telephone installation and sig...

National Photo Company Collection. No. 11903 A. Neg. no. 2183.

Good news

Good news

Photograph shows a woman fancily dressed, seated at a table, holding an umbrella and posed using telephone. Copyright 1909 by Longaker Premier Engraving Co., Phila., Pa. Title from item.

[Hatted girl with telephone]

[Hatted girl with telephone]

Photograph shows a woman, wearing large hat and fancy dress, seated, posed using telephone. Copyright by Rotograph Co., New York. Title devised by Library staff.

[Young woman talking into a telephone]

[Young woman talking into a telephone]

Photograph shows young woman, wearing lacy dress, posed using telephone. Copyright 1909 by Rochester Photo Press, Rochester, N. Y. No. 267. Title devised by Library staff.

[Carrie Chapman Catt, half-length portrait, seated, facing left, on telephone]

[Carrie Chapman Catt, half-length portrait, seated, facing left, on te...

National Photo Company Collection. Title devised by Library staff.

[New York (City) Police Dept., 1909: telephone operators (men) lined up at police headquarters switchboard]

[New York (City) Police Dept., 1909: telephone operators (men) lined u...

Photo by Bain News Service, N.Y.C. Title and other information transcribed from unverified, old caption card data and item. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Shelf.

Chamber of Commerce telephone room
German Trench Telephone Station
Oscar Straus /

Oscar Straus /

Close shot of Oscar S. Straus, author, United States ambassador, member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague for six three-year terms beginning in 1902, and Secretary of Commerce and Labor in TR's... More

[Man at telephone switchboard]

[Man at telephone switchboard]

Stereo copyrighted by Underwood & Underwood. No. U-119155. No copyright renewal. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Ph. Ind.; Offices; Telephones.

The Detroit News timely topics.  New wireless telephone
McCarthy wireless 'phone, L.A.
Wireless Telephone, L.A.
Service telephone
Field Telephone Man, Germany
"A Telephone Operator"

"A Telephone Operator"

Bust of woman, facing left, wearing earphones and a mouth piece. J151025 U.S. Copyright Office. Photo copyrighted by the New England Telephone and Telegraph Co. This record contains unverified, old data from ca... More

Cal Rodgers, George Grantham Bain Collection

Cal Rodgers, George Grantham Bain Collection

Telephoning his safe arrival in Pasadena to friends. Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress). Caption card tracings: Aeronautics... More

HOUSE OFFICE BUILDING. TELEPHONE EXCHANGE
[Henry Morgenthau, half-length portrait, seated at desk, facing right, holding telephone receiver]
Telephon-  und Telegraphenzentrale in Trient
Telephon-  und Telegraphenzentrale in Trient
Telephon-  und Telegraphenzentrale in Trient
Telephon.-  und Telegraphenzentrale in Trient
Telefonzentrale der Stabskompanie des reitenden Schützenregiments 2
Telephon- und Telegraphenzentrale in Trient
Telephon-  und Telegraphenzentrale in Trient
Fassungsleiter des Etappenmagazin der 4.Armee
CHESAPEAKE & POTOMAC TELEPHONE CO. TELEPHONE GIRLS
Sch.Regiment 33 Zarzece am Stochod
A live wire / Modest Stein ; painted by Modest Stein.

A live wire / Modest Stein ; painted by Modest Stein.

Illustration shows a fashionably dressed young woman talking on a telephone with multiple lines that are connected to twelve men. Title from item. Illus. in: Puck, v. 76, no. 1953 (1914 August 8), cover. Copyri... More

Telefonzentrale bei der 89.Brigade
Telefonzentrale im Fuchsloch bei der 2.Infanteriedivison
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