Friday, January 28, 2005

Number, Please

Site of the First Telephone Exchange

On this date in History: January 28, 1878, the first telephone switchboard built for commercial use was put into operation in New Haven, CT. It was owned and operated by the District Telephone Company of New Haven.

Operations began with only 21 subscribers, although the switchboard was built to connect as many as 64 subscribers. The operator needed to make 6 connections for each call, and the board could only handle 2 simultaneous calls.

George W. Coy built the switchboard and started the telephone company after attending a lecture by Alexander Graham Bell at the Skiff Opera House on April 27, 1877.

The building that housed the telephone company has been torn down. I haven't found out what happened to the switchboard. If it still exists, it belongs in a museum somewhere. Do you know where it is? If so, please leave a comment below.

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