Bell Telephone, the predecessor of AT&T, here in Michigan and Illinois produced a periodical, "Bell Telephone News", for their workers. Each of these articles are part of a larger scan available online from Google Books. Today's articles are in response to General Pershing's call for bilingual telephone operators. It was a year after we entered the war. The attempt to work with the existing French telephone service was impossible for the soldiers on the battlefield, complete with long delays and interrupted service. Remember that until mid-20th century all calls had to go through phone operators. Here in the U.S. we were able to have 14 phones for every 100 households, while in France it was only 1.5. Signal Corps men were quite willing to run and maintain phone lines, but switchboard operation was "women's work." If that sounds sexist, scanning the old issues is a different world since it was a time when the highest supervisory post available to women was training operators.
|Bell Telephone News, vol 7, no 9, April, 1918 p 237.|