October 2, 2015

How to Dress When Using Your Landline, ca. 1900s

During the 1870s, two well known inventors both independently designed devices that could transmit sound along electrical cables. Those inventors were Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray. Both devices were registered at the patent office within hours of each other. There followed a bitter legal battle over the invention of the telephone, which Bell subsequently won.

The telegraph and telephone are very similar in concept, and it was through Bell's attempts to improve the telegraph that he found success with the telephone.


Within 50 years of its invention, the telephone had become an indispensable tool in the United States. In the late 19th century, people raved about the telephone's positive aspects and ranted about what they anticipated would be negatives. By 1900 there were nearly 600,000 phones in Bell's telephone system; that number shot up to 2.2 million phones by 1905, and 5.8 million by 1910.

These interesting vintage black and white photographs show young women posed using telephones in the early 20th century.

c.1909

c.1909

c.1907

c.1909

c.1909

c.1909

c.1905

c.1904

c.1900

c.1926

(Images: Library of Congress)




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