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Posts Tagged ‘Operator’

Klappenschrank

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

A Klappenschrank was a piece of equipment in the early days of the telephone, that was used to connect two subscribers with each other.

It was operated by a Fräulein vom Amt and was effectively a board made up of holes Рone hole per line, covered with a small cap.  The caps would flap to show that someone wanted to make a phone call, and often a light bulb would show that a line was still in use.  Two holes would be connected by a wire to establish the call between the two parties.

They stopped being used on the telephone network in the western German states in 1966, and in the GDR in 1987.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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Das Fräulein vom Amt

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

Das Fräulein vom Amt was the name given to the telephone operators at the beginning of the last century.

Young women were employed to connect phone calls in the days before direct dialling as their high voices carried better on the early telephone wires than the lower men’s voices. They did this by connecting sockets on a so-called Klappenschrank.

Whilst the need for this service reduced with the introduction of direct dialling, many calls to other countries were still connected manually and it was possible to reserve a time for a particular call in advance.

The job services in the form of the Telefonistin in emergency call centres and on the switchboard of large companies.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

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