Switchboard at Prairie Trails Museum
How many people do you know who no longer have "land lines" in their home for phone service? They now rely on their cell phones for communication. We have made amazing advancements since the first phones were offered to citizens of Corydon, Iowa around the turn of the previous century.
According to a brief article on October 18, 1900 in The Times Republican, "The rural telephone companies had a meeting on Saturday last. They expect to ask for a vote at the spring election for a franchise, giving them permission to put a line and switchboard at Corydon."
Picture at Prairie Trails Museum
Later, April 11,1901, the following article appeared in The Times Republican:
Corydon telephone company have placed in their office one of Warners Pole
Changers for ringing telephones. This is a practical installment for an
exchange office as it does away with the ringing of the phones by the
"hello girls". All the person now has to do at the Corydon office is
to answer the party who rings the phone by inserting the plug where needed and
the Pole changer rings up the person wanted. It is quite an instrument, does the
work perfectly and gives the “hello girl” ample time to do her work properly.”
In October, 1902, Instructions and Suggestions for Patrons in Using Telephones was published in The Wayne County Democrat.
Instructions and Suggestions for Patrons in Using Telephones
1. To use 'phone, ring the bell; take down the receiver. The Central office will respond. Give the number desired. Central will call in making the connection. When through talking always ring off with a short ring so the operator may know when you are through talking. Some one else may be waiting to talk to you.
2. Before commencing conversation give your name, and require your correspondent to do the same.
3. Operators will answer all calls in their turn, as promptly as possible. Subscribers should remember that it is not always possible to furnish the desired information, or make the connection desired at once, and that operators are entitled to fair and courteous treatment. Any inattention or lack of courtesy by operators to subscribers should be reported to the secretary.
4. If the line wanted is reported "in use" do not keep the attention of the operator as others may be waiting. Wait a reasonable time and call again.
5. The exclusive duty of operators is to answer the calls. they have no time for visiting or conversation.
6. 'Phones are for the use of subscribers only. Messages over toll lines must be paid for at the end of each month. Message fees will be charged to subscriber from whose 'phone message is sent. If you do not want to be bothered with out of town messages, send your friend to the Central office.
7. Do not permit children or any one not entitled to do so to use your telephone. It is a delicate instrument and easily injured. If you want good service take good care of the instrument.
8. If your 'phone gets out of order report the matter to the Central office or the secretary. Do not attempt to fix the instrument. Subscribers are expected to make good all breakage or injury to instruments due to their own carelessness.
9. Central office will be kept open from 6 o'clock a.m. to 10 o'clock p.m. On Sunday 8 to 10 a.m. and 4 to
6 p.m. Night bell attached for use in case of sickness or other emergency.
J.R. SCALES, Secretary E.A. REA, President