Monday, January 7, 2013

Early Telephone Service to New Vienna

The Highland Weekly News (Hillsborough [Hillsboro], Highland County, Ohio) of January 10, 1883 reports - Telephone connection is now complete with New Vienna, New Antioch, Wilmington, and from there to Sabina.  Partial transcription follows.

Telephone Talk 
Telephone connection is now complete with New Vienna, New Antioch, and Wilmington, and from there to Sabina.

Mr. Cooper expects to have the line open to Cincinnati by to-day, and also to Greenfield, by way of Lexington [Highland] and Leesburg, by next Monday.

Wilmington Station is No. 53, Cincinnati No. 54, and Greenfield No. 55.

A public telephone station has been provided for at the Exchange Office in this city, and Mr. Cooper requests all parties who are not subscribers to the Telephone Co., wishing to use the wires, to call there and transmit their messages, as subscribers will be charged for all messages sent through their instruments to points outside of this city.

The ticket books, costing $5 and $10 and containing $6.25 and $12.50 worth of coupons, will be ready some time this week.  The following is a scale of rates to be charged between the different points named.  There may be a reduction in them soon to regular customers of the telephone company. rates between all points connected by the lines of the Central, Western or Midland Telephone Companies, but will not be good to points on connecting lines partly owned by other parties, which are marked with a star.  [Cuba]

Where parties call for a connection and are unable to raise the station called for, no charge will be made, but if the station answers the call it will have to be paid for whether the party calling gets the individual he wants or not.  He will have to transact his business with whoever he gets, or pay for a second connection.

Five minutes time will be allowed for each message.

The following is the rate
....from Hillsboro to New Vienna. . . . 25[¢]
[also same rate to NV from Greenfield and Leesburg

Telephone Exchange c1910 New Vienna Ohio. Image Courtesy of Hayward Crone via Mike Whited.

* * * * * Telephone Exchange in Careytown:
 A news item in the News-Herald (Hillsboro, Ohio) of February 11, 1904 reports that in a terrific wind storm, of almost cyclonic proportion, the Careytown telephone exchange building was moved ten feet from the foundation, twisted, and will have to be town down.
* * * * *
Clinton Telephone Company - Wilmington and New Vienna Ohio - Stationary 1911.  Image Courtesy of Hayward Crone via Mike Whited.  Donald Carey (married Gladys Pemberton), to whom this letter is addressed, was a member of the NVHS Class of 1913.
The letter written on the reverse side of the stationary is from a young lady (signed H.Wright) who evidently wasn't sure whether she was in love with Donald or not, mentions his reputation – quite interesting, but has nothing to do with the telephone company other than she worked there.
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  1. Larry inquired about the telephone number prefixes for various communities. The list from a 1958 General Telephone Company of Ohio Wilmington phone book which includes Blanchester, Clarksville, Martinsville, New Vienna, Port William and Sabina is as follows:

    FU( Fulton 2 =382) - Wilmington
    SU (Sunset 3 =783) - Blanchester
    YU (Yukon 7 = 987) - New Vienna
    LU (Ludlow 4 = 584) - Sabina
    MU (Murray 5 = 685) - Martinsville
    AT (Atlas 9 = 289) - Clarksville
    HU (Hudson 6 = 486) - Port William

    The 1959 phone book includes the same communities but also includes Lynchburg and has a separate listing for Danville. Neither of them has a prefix listed though. Lynchburg numbers are listed as Lynchburg followed by a 2 or 3 digit number and then sometimes an "R" or a "W" which is sometimes followed by a number. Danville numbers are listed as Danville followed by a 4 digit number.

    Other prefixes found in the 1959 yellow page ads include:
    CHapel 4-5233 - Kil Kare Auto Wrecking in Dayton
    TWinbrook 2-9891 Grant's Seat Covers and Auto Tops in Hamilton
    NOrmany 5-4804 Loveland Gas in Loveland
    HIllcrest 4-2211 Kibler Milling Co., Lumber in Mt. Orab
    DRake 2-4408 Dodds Monument Co., Xenia
    DRake 2-2542 "The Farm" fine foods and dancing also in Xenia
    BRamble 1-9200 Ferguson Moving & Storage in Cincinnati
    GArden 3-1567 Orkin Exterminating in Middletown

  2. From John L.: "I found the article interesting. I remember the little building in Careytown where the phone exchange was. I think it was there until just a few years ago. I saw a photo of Main Street in New Vienna a few years back from around the turn of the century. The poles were just covered with telephone wires. I think anyone with a phone had a wire from their phone directly to the phone exchange."

    Catherine replied: "Interesting point about the wires. That hadn't occurred to me. I'll have to take a closer look at the old pictures. Thought I'd read more about Careytown phone exchange but couldn't find it now."

  3. From Fred: "Yes quite a change in phones and communication from New Vienna in the 1800’s. When we moved to Wilmington in 1934, we had a party line with several other on it. Had that for several years before we got our own line. I also remember when I was in Elementary school buying a crystal set to pick up radio. It consisted of a rock (crystal) a wire and one headphone. It required a battery. You move the wire around so the end touched a certain place on the rock to pick up different stations. Of course we had no trouble picking up WLW , which was probably the most powerful station in the country, thanks to Powel Crosley. As kids we also used to use two tin cans and a string. Both of our cars now have Bluetooth and we just call or answer without using the dialer. –- I still enjoy the New Vienna articles. I learn something from each one."

  4. Did people at one time have to go into the local phone office to place a call if they could not place one from home? I think so but I'm not sure. Interesting to know that little ole Careytown use to have a phone exchange. I wasn't born until the late 1960s and we did not have a party line, but when on the phone from the family farm, I sometimes could hear other other people over the phone (who I had not called) talking in the background. Their voices were soft and distant and sometimes they were hard to understand but I could hear them--weird. These people were talking to someone else but if sometimes I talked really loud they could hear me too. A party line is where you and, for example, your neighbors are on the same line and you have to wait your turn if someone else is using right? Great entry--thanks!

  5. Link, thanks for your comment. Yes, people would have gone to the exchange unless they had wire connecting directly from their phone to the phone exchange office. (See comment #2.) As for party lines I think they could have up to 12 (or more?) houses on one line. Each house would have a distinctive ring – 3 short rings, or a 1 long and 2 short rings, etc. It was not the place to have a private conversation as anyone else could listen in and add their own comments if they wished.

    John L. added further to his comment above: "in the days before party lines, each phone had its own wire line that went directly to the operator switch board at the exchange. If you wanted to use the phone, you would crank a dynamo that would ring a bell to alert the operator someone was trying to reach her. She would connect with the incoming line and find out who you wanted to talk to. She then would take a patch cable and connect your phone line to the line of the person who you wanted to talk to. Although the development of party lines greatly reduced the amount of wire in the air, it did not eliminate it."

  6. I was told by Bob Johnson a few years back that the above picture of the New Vienna telephone exchange from what he could remember was also the first location in New Vienna for the post office, you had to walk around back and go in the door. He believed it was the back of what is now the Enginehouse Pizza.