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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 – one 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.

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2 Responses to “Klappenschrank”

  1. German Words Explained » Blog Archive » Kurbelinduktor Says:

    […] « Klappenschrank […]

  2. Pension Sprachschule Maria Shipley » Blog Archive » Kurbelinduktor Says:

    […] The first telephones required the user to turn the handle to create the current that opened the flap on the Klappenschrank. […]


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