Hello? Who’s This?

So much has changed in our lifetimes…..an understatement that came to the fore when I saw this 1914 New England Telephone ad:

Phone ad 1914

When I was a kid, we were on a party line….for those of you who may not remember, these were shared phone lines. Your neighbors essentially had the same line as you did so you could eavesdrop on their phone conversations and vice versa. You paid a premium for a private line.

When you called someone, you were pretty sure you knew where they were located at that moment but they had no idea who was calling.

A phone number was typically shared by everyone in the household so you had a chat with whomever picked up the call.

You VERY carefully planned “long distance” calls for the cheapest rates because you were charged extra for each call made outside your zone…..and, as referenced in this ad, you could rest easy if no one answered.

Today you can make those Thanksgiving calls anytime you like. When your college kid comes home for the long weekend, your line is no longer tied up making their plans with friends. It’s a wonderful world we live in (mostly)! What else do you remember about phones back in the day?

Here’s a link to a cute Ellen video demonstrating some of this. Might provide some guidance for Thanksgiving family fun.   https://youtu.be/Gjin8t633pc

 

4 thoughts on “Hello? Who’s This?

  1. You forgot cranking the crank on the side of the phone upon arriving on the lobster landing dock in Chester, Nova Scotia to call parents in Gloucester and tell them that you made it easy with twin jibs down the breeze from Bermuda. There was also telling the operator the number of the lady you wanted to call in Waitsfield, Vermont and being told that she was at the post office and she would try there.

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  2. When my boyfriend (now husband of 41 yrs) was in college in the early 1970s, he would call me collect. My mother got so sick of paying the bill, that when she went out, she would unplug the phone and take it with her..My friends thought that was hilarious..I didn’t.

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