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Redding's First Telephone Lines, November 1, 1904  

Here is a list of the first telephones in Redding and their extensions. The list from 1904 dropped out of a 1954 Town Annual Report my grandfather and I were thumbing through.

Randolph Bradley 383-14

Jesse B. Cornwall 247-21

Bronson's General Store 247-3

Jeanette Gilder 383-6

New England Lime 247-15

Hugh C. McCollam 383-12

Lester O. Peck 383-3

John B. Sanford 247-4 (Toll Station)

William C. Sanford 383-2

Dr. Ernest Smith 383-2

Sullivan Brother's Toll Station 383-4, 383-5

In reviewing Redding Times publications from 1950 thru the 1960's I've found that telephone switch operators were in use during these years. I've listed a few of these operators below.

Georgetown Operator: Lincoln

Redding Operator: Webster

Ridgefield Operator: Idlewood

Bethel Operator: Pioneer

Danbury Operators: Pioneer, Enterprise

Newtown Operator: Garden

In Georgetown the telephone switch office was on Route 7, across from where West Church Street comes out. Where the SNET/At&T brick building is today.

In West Redding it was located in the house just north of the present day entrance to the West Redding Railroad Station parking lot (left-hand side).

On Redding Ridge it was located in the house on the corner of Newtown Turnpike and Cross Highway. I presume this office served Redding Center as well.

In the early 1900's telephone switch operators controlled "party lines". These "party lines" were telephone lines for entire streets. For example on Georgetown's, Smith Street, there were 5 houses all on the same line. House #1 was 1 ring, House #2 was 2 rings, House #3 was 3 rings, etc... So when the phone rang once and you were House #1 you picked up the phone. The problem with this set up was that after you picked up because you were on the same line a neighbor could pick up too and listen in on your private conversations. My grandfather can remember quite a few "busy bodies" in Georgetown who spent their days enjoying other peoples business.

Use your home telephone to call international with callback or get wholesale callback to be a callback reseller. A great alternative is calling with international calling cards.

How did these Telephone Switchboards Work?

A switchboard is a device used to manually connect a group of telephones from one to another or to an outside connection. The user is typically known as an "operator". The device is usually designed to enable the operator to sit at it. It has a high backpanel which consists of rows of female jacks, each jack designated and wired as a local extension of the switchboard or as an incoming or outgoing trunk line. The jack is also associated with a lamp. On the table or desk area in front of the operator are rows of keys, lamps and cords. Each row consists of a front key and a back key, a front lamp and a back lamp, followed by a front cord and a back cord. The front key is associated and wired to the front cord and the back key is associated with and wired to the back cord. Each of the keys has 3 positions - back, normal and foward. When a key is in the normal position an electrical talk path connects the front and back cords. A key in the foward position connects the operator to the cord, and a key in the back position sends ringing generator out on the cord. Each cord has a 3-wire connection -tip and ring for testing, ringing and voice, and a sleeve wire for busy indications. When a call is received, the associated jack lamp lights and the operator responds by placing the back cord into the jack and throwing the back key forward. The operator now converses with the caller and finds out where the caller would like to be connected to. If it is another extension, the operator places the front cord in the associated jack and pulls the front key backwards to ring the called party. After connecting, the operator leaves both cords "up" with the keys in the normal position and the parties can converse.

Switchboards came into use shortly after the invention of the telephone in 1876. Small towns typically had the operator's switchboard installed in the operator's home so that she could answer calls on a 24 hour basis. New England Telephone and Telegraph installed the first battery-operated switchboard on January 9, 1894 in Lexington, Massachusetts.

Use your home telephone to call international with callback or get wholesale callback to be a callback reseller. A great alternative is calling with international calling cards.

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History of Redding is a not a business or an organization..It's one person working to promote the history of his hometown
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