Trivia Question 2/14/13 – The Last Switchboard

SwitchboardToday is Valentine’s Day, a day when a lot of people probably make a lot of phone calls to distant loved ones.  And speaking of phones, that’s the subject of today’s trivia question.

In 1923 telephones were installed on Catalina Island with an undersea cable connecting them to the Mainland.  To make a phone call, you picked up the receiver and turned a crank on the phone to ring the operator at a switchboard.  The operator would then connect you to your party using a patch cable on the switchboard.

It turns out Catalina Island was the last site in the AT&T telephone system to do away with operator service, install dial telephones, and go to a direct dial switching system.

QUESTION:

In what year was the last AT&T operator switchboard shut down on Catalina and the system converted to direct dial?

ANSWER:

1978

EXPLANATION:

Catalina Island plays a role in telephone history.  Thanks to the military who installed and used it during World War 2, the circuit between Catalina Island and the Mainland was the first microwave radio relay AT&T used for telephone service.  And it was also the last to cut over to direct dial service.

According the AT&T video you can watch by clicking the link below, the last operator switchboard was shut down when the phone company switched over from operator service to dial service and an automated switching system in 1978.

http://techchannel.att.com/play-video.cfm/2013/1/17/ATT-Archives-Good-Bye-Central-Bonus-Edition

NET CHECK IN’s:

Tonight we had a total of 27 people check in to the Net and only 2 of them had the correct answer.  Congratulations to:

  • Louie – AD6UP
  • Murray – WA6USL

Thanks to everyone who checked in to the Net tonight.

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