138 years ago (January 28, 1878) in the Boardman Building of New Haven, Connecticut the first commercial telephone exchange took place. George Coy was the mastermind behind the District Telephone Company of New Haven that connected 21 customers, along with his two partners Herrick Frost and Walter Lewis. Coy created the contraption from, “teapot cover handles, wires from ladies’ bustles and carriage bolts”.¹

This brought big change, as prior telephones were only privately owned or by “businesses who leased telephones in pairs to connect”.² With the starting price of only $1.50 per month for the original 21 customers, the business was off and running. It wasn’t until the 1920s that direct dialing and telephone numbers came about.

Great Plains Communications hopes you enjoyed this look back in history!


¹Hartford Courant 1878 — The World’s First Commercial Telephone Exchangehttps://www.courant.com/courant-250/moments-in-history/hc-20150103-010-photo.html

²Connecticut History First Commercial Telephone Exchange – Today in History: January 28: https://connecticuthistory.org/the-first-commercial-telephone-exchange-today-in-history/ 

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