Post Quiz for Time Travellers: How to Use the Telephone in 1899 – Answers
These handy tips for using the telephone were found in the 1 June 1899 edition of the Gainesville, Florida telephone directory. There were three pages of telephone numbers. The number for the Odd Fellows Home was 17.
Here are the answers.
- Press the telephone firmly to the ear. (There was an earpiece. It hung from a hook.)
- Always hang up the telephone (with the ear-piece down) after finishing a conversation; otherwise, the battery will soon be exhausted and you cannot be heard. (Yep, a battery was involved, but there were no rechargers.)
- Operators are required to be polite under all circumstances; please extend to them the same consideration. (That's why they fired all those rude teenage boys and hired polite young women.)
- Do not use the telephone during a thunderstorm. (This conjures up unwanted mental pictures.)
- The use of profane or obscene language through the telephone is forbidden. (Even if you're talking to your bookie.)
- The use of the telephone is limited to the subscriber, his family or his employee in his interest. (It goes on to say, 'Instruments may be removed if this condition of the lease is disregarded.' Who knew?)
- Difficulties with the service experienced by some subscribers are due to the use of mouth-pieces… and other unauthorized attachments. ('Every necessary appliance being supplied by the company, subscribers are earnestly requested to refrain from the use of other apparatus.' So there.)
- The Company [cannot] guarantee the permanency of….numbers. Subscribers are therefore advised not to print numbers on stationery. (They're supposed to say 'Bell Telephone Connection'.)
- The tolls for all long-line conversations, by whomsoever made, will be charged to the subscriber at whose station they originate. Subscribers to protect themselves from loss must see that no use unauthorized by them is made of their telephone. (In other words, lock up your telephone.)
- The mail is quick, the telegraph is quicker, but the telephone is instantaneous. ('And you don't have to wait for an answer!')
Isn't old technology fun? To think that was just 120 years ago.
the Odd Fellows.