The word telephone is derived from the Greek words “tele” meaning “far off” and “phonos” meaning “sound.”
Alexander Graham Bell lacked the funds to develop his invention of the telephone. So, he tried to sell all rights to his telephone patent to the Western Union Telegraph Company for $100,000 in 1876. They turned him down saying it was an electrical toy with far too many shortcomings to ever be considered a practical means of communication.
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 telephone operators might succumb to the disease and cripple the towns’ communications. He recommended the use of numbers rather than individual names for calling the more than 200 subscribers. In the event of such an emergency, operators could be easily trained. The idea soon caught on nationwide. Dr. Parker was so convinced of the telephone’s potential that he began buying stock. By 1883, he was one of the largest individual stockholders in both the American Telephone Company and the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company.
Thomas Edison coined the word “hello” derived from “holler” in 1889. Prior to that time the most common word used when answering the telephone was “yes.”
When I began my ten year career in 1956 at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company at Logan, WV, we answer the customer by saying “Number Please.” When we went dial a few years later we answered by saying “Operator.” Now the friendly voice of a telephone operator has been replaced by recordings.
BETTY WHITE AND DOLORES RIGGS – FLOOD MARCH 1963
1965 Christmas dinner held in the basement of the telephone office
Standing: (1) Terri Clark (2) Goldie Nagey (3) Carolyn Counts (4) Dorothy Wilson-chief operator (5) Delta Dalton (6) Linda Fernandez (7) – (8) Annette Castelli (9) – (10) – (11) Dolores Riggs-Davis (12) – (13) Sadie Whited (14) Hattie Mae Perry-assistant chief operator
Sitting: (1) Shelva Gaylock (2) Pat Lucus (3) Martha Stepp (4) – (5) Phyllis Sadler (6) Anna Jean Browning (7) – (8) Brenda Richardson
Sitting: (1) Madalyn “Pudutt” Weaver (2) Shelva Gaylock (3) Rosemary Watkins (4) Emma Weaver-MacArthur (5) Betty Ellis (6) Faye–) (7) Sadie Whited (8) Dolores Riggs (9) Ruth Dingess (10) Goldie Nagy
Men in back row out of town presenters
IF ANYONE CAN IDENTIFY THE OTHER OPERATORS PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT.