Remember Party Lines

I remember being on a party line growing up.  Picking up the phone to hear our neighbor on the phone.  Weird and slightly annoying. If we we were in the house and wanted to talk to dad in the barn, we could dial our own phone number, hang up and then pick up when it stopped ringing because that meant dad picked up.  Not sure why we would not just go out there.

In this post, I just want to record what my dad (78 years old) described to me when his dad used the phone.  Those first ones.

Grandpa used to turn the crank that powered the magneto that made electricity to turn on a light on the switchboard. Grandpa would have to wait a long time, so he would crank and crank the phone, thinking that it was also making a ringing sound at the switchboard. It was only a light though.

However, a lot of people on people on Grandpa’s party line would have their phone rung by the electricity he sent through the lines. His neighbors would hear his constant ringing.

Other fun facts about the phones back in my Grandparents day- The people on a party line did not need to go through the switchboard to call each other. If your neighbors signal that someone was calling him was two long rings and one short ring, then that is what you rang to get them to pick up the receiver.


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