Friday, 20 March 2009

That darned telephone...

Some telephone trivia....

“Jo is the only girl I know who phones round all her girlfriends to tell them how enormous the latest phone bill has been.” (Written by me after a particularly enormous bill - 8th Feb 1991)

Did you know red telephone boxes were made with slightly sloping floors so that ‘unpleasant liquids’ could drain out.

L S Lowry had a telephone with no bell. He said he had the telephone for his convenience not for others.

More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.

The international telephone dialling code for Antarctica is 672.

Mother's Day is (allegedly) the busiest day of the year for the telephone companies.

Women can talk longer with less effort than can men. That has been proved repeatedly. Why? Because the vocal cords of women are shorter than those of men and so release less air through them to carry the sound. It's all a matter of breathing.

From the August, 1906 Pacific States Telephone & Telegraph Company
directory for San Francisco, California . . .
How to Answer a Telephone Call: Remove the hand telephone from the hook and say "Here is Main 297" (or whatever your number may be). The party calling should say "Here is Main 298," (or whatever the number may be). Much friction and annoyance will be avoided if this simple plan is carried out.

The American Bell Telephone system was named after Alexander Graham Bell. However, the Canadian Bell Telephone system wasn't named for Alexander Graham Bell. It was named for his father, Alexander Melville Bell. Being a good son, he gave is father the Canadian rights to the telephone.

The use of telephone answering machines became popular in 1974.

The year 1879 saw the first use of telephone numbers at Lowell, Massachusetts. During an epidemic of measles, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker feared that Lowell's four operators might succumb to the disease and bring about a paralysis of telephone service. He recommended the use of numbers rather than individual names for calling the more than 200 subscribers. This way, substitute operators could be more easily trained, in the event of such an emergency.

Why are calculators and telephone key-pads set the oposite way round?
Before the touch-tone phone, of course, rotary dials were the rule. There is no doubt that the touch-tone key pad was designed to mimic the rotary dial with the "1" on top and the 7-8-9 on the bottom. When AT&T contemplated the design of their key pad, they called several calculator companies, hoping they would share the research that led them to the opposite configuration. It seems the calculator companies had conducted no research at all. It has also been suggested that if the lower numbers were on the bottom, the alphabet would then start on the bottom and be in reverse alphabetical order, a confusing setup. This might have entered AT&T's thinking, particularly in the "old days" when phone numbers contained only five digits, along with two exchange letters. (In the UK it was three letters and four digits; our phone at home being STO1936.)

"The great advantage [the telephone] possesses over every other form of electrical apparatus consists in the fact that it requires no skill to operate the instrument." - Alexander Graham Bell, 1878
(He obviously didn’t have my Nokia!)


  1. Quite a bit of learning to absorb there - I still feel faintly queasy if I ever have to use a public 'phone box, so your snippet about the unguents does not surprise me in the slightest!

  2. I like this post, Scriptor. Pretty neat knowledge to have, although, I'll probably forget everything except your high phone bill and the vocal cords. That's my mind for ya (?)

    Now, I must have similar vocal length to that of a man which completely explains why I become so exhausted with too much talking, or reading aloud (although being a woman and mother, I must still do these things). Can you explain why my ears create sensory overload with my hearing, now? Please?

    Smiles to you today :o)

    Oh...may I use your dragon statue photo to put at my side bar as an easy click for the whole story? I'm not finished yet, and truly don't know when or what until I sit down to's so much fun. My husband won't let me read him any more of it until it's finished...hahaha...he gets annoyed with the way I end each chapter, having to wait.

    All done now :o)

  3. Really interesting post. I actually remember the phone in the first photo. I no longer remember where, and I must have been pretty young, but I remember too how incredibly heavy the ear piece was-- and the way they smelled.

  4. I can vaguely remember the phone in the first view. The ones in some telephone boxes were like that when GB and I were tiny.


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