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Who Was Listed in the First Telephone Directory?

Two years after Alexander Graham Bell patented his telephone in 1876, Connecticut's New Haven District Telephone Company issued the first telephone book in the United States. It was, in fact, just a single sheet of paper. The names of 50 telephone owners were listed, but their actual phone numbers weren't included because switchboard operators were expected to connect the callers. This "list of subscribers," dated 21 February 1878, listed residences, physicians, dentists, stores, and markets in the area that had telephones. Later that year, a longer New Haven phone book was published, which also included advertisements.

More about the telephone:

  • Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the invention of the telephone, although others such as Antonio Meucci and Elisha Gray worked on their own telephones during the same period.

  • The practice of answering the phone with "hello" is believed to have been encouraged by Thomas Edison. Alexander Graham Bell, for example, preferred "ahoy."

  • Emma Nutt was the world's first female phone operator. She began working at Edwin Holmes Telephone Dispatch Company in Boston on 1 September 1878.

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More Info: Smithsonian magazine

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