The word telephone is derived from the Greek words “tele” meaning “far off” and “phonos”
Alexander Graham Bell lacked the funds to develop his invention of the telephone. So, he
tried to sell all rights to his telephone patent to the Western Union Telegraph Company for
$100,000 in 1876. They turned him down saying it was an electrical toy with far too many
shortcomings to ever be considered a practical means of communication.
The year 1879 saw the first use of telephone numbers at Lowell, Massachusetts. During an
epidemic of measles, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker feared that Lowell’s four telephone operators
might succumb to the disease and cripple the towns’ communications. He recommended the use of
numbers rather than individual names for calling the more than 200 subscribers. In the event of
such an emergency, operators could be easily trained. The idea soon caught on nationwide. Dr.
Parker was so convinced of the telephone’s potential that he began buying stock. By 1883, he was
one of the largest individual stockholders in both the American Telephone Company and the New
England Telephone and Telegraph Company.
Thomas Edison coined the word “hello” derived from “holler” in 1889. Prior to that time the
most common word used when answering the telephone was “yes.”
When I began my ten year career in 1956 at the Chesapeake and Potomac Telephone Company at
Logan, WV, we answer the customer by saying “Number Please.” When we went dial a few years
later we answered by saying “Operator.” Now the friendly voice of a telephone operator has been
replaced by recordings.
Standing: (1) Terri Clark (2) Goldie Nagey (3) Carolyn Counts (4) Dorothy Wilson-chief operator
(5) Delta Dalton (6) Linda Fernandez (7) - (8) Annette Castelli (9) - (10) - (11) Dolores Riggs-Davis (12) - (13) Sadie Whited (14) Hattie Mae Perry-assistant chief operator
Sitting: (1) Shelva Gaylock (2) Pat Lucus (3) Martha Stepp (4) - (5) Phyllis Sadler (6) Anna Jean
Browning (7) - (8) Brenda Richardson
Back row: (1) Fay White (2) - (3) - (4) Midge Cox (5) Dorothy Wilson (6) Hattie Perry (7) Sis White (10) Ada Dingess
Sitting: (1) Madalyn “Pudutt” Weaver (2) Shelva Gaylock (3) Rosemary Watkins (4) Emma Weaver-MacArthur (5) Betty Ellis (6) Faye--) (7) Sadie Whited (8) Dolores Riggs (9) Ruth Dingess (10) Goldie Nagy
Men in back row out of town presenters
(1) - (2) Dolores Riggs (3) Betty Ellis (4) Rosemary Watkins (5) Roberta Cunningha (6) Carolyn "Pinky" Counts (7) Hattie Perry (8) Dorothy Wilson (9) - (10) Phyllis Sadler (11) -