Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Telephone


Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone in 1876.  However the telephone required extensive and many innovations to make it a household item.  In the cities and urban areas telephones started becoming common in the late 1920’s and 30’s. Telephones didn’t become ordinary, especially in western Canada rural areas until the 1940’s and 1950’s. The first telephones in rural areas were party lines where neighbors could gather and gain news without visiting. Although they had individual crank rings (remember one-ringy-dingy, two ringy dingy’s – telephone operator Lily Tomlin or the Carol Burnett Show?) or maybe not.  That’s a little old too.

With George - Monteray Park

Nothing seems to have advanced or improved during people’s lifetime more than the telephone.

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6 thoughts on “Facts for Historical Romance Writers – Telephone

  1. I remember the party-line. Although I grew up in London we didn’t have a phone until I was ten years old and when we did get one it was a party-line.
    Thanks, Mary. This is some very useful information.

    • Thanks Maggie. We had a party-line out on the farm. I remember our bold prank was to call someone when mom and dad weren’t around and say ‘Do you live down the road – well, you better get off – a car is coming.” Of course everyone knew who we were and played along. I guess it was like knock/knock jokes today.

  2. I remember our party line in the country. It was 598J. Then we moved up in the world and got a private line. It was 594. My dad still had trouble calling home because I had lots of brothers and sisters that used the phone and “call waiting” had not been invented yet!

    • I must admit I got frustrated when we had to start dialing the area code before the number. I always want to hit 1 – then the ‘voice’ comes on – telling me I’ve dialed it wrong. It’s hard when you do something for years and it changes. But I like some of the conveniences too – like just having a phone and not missing calls.

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