Webster Museum

Almon Brown Strowger

Automatic Telephone Exchange

Almon Brown Strowger (left), Western Electric model 50AL (introduced in 1919, right)

"Number Please?"

Throughout most of the country until the late teens and early twenties, it was not possible to dial a telephone call without the assistance of a telephone operator. Penfield native Almon Strowger was working as an undertaker in Kansas in the late 1880s. Convinced the local telephone operator who was the wife of a competitor was diverting his calls, Strowger set out to create a means of bypassing the operator....and in 1891 he patented "the automatic telephone exchange". A system that would become used throughout the world into the 1970s.

To learn more:

Almon Brown Strowger https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almon_Brown_Strowger

Strowger Switch https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strowger_switch

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18 Lapham Park Webster, New York 14580 585.265.3308

Webster Museum