Telephone exchange, 19th century

Telephone exchange, 19th century

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Telephone exchange. 19th-century illustration of women working in a telephone exchange in Paris in 1890. This part of the exchange was reserved for phone calls to and from the stock exchange. Connections between early telephones were made manually by the operators. Technological improvements in this Parisian exchange meant that people, for the first time, provided a number rather than a name, and they were passed between fewer people before being connected. This system was known as 'Poste assis'. The telephone was developed in the 1870s, with several inventors pioneering the technology. This illustration is from 'Physique Populaire' (Emile Desbeaux, 1891).

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