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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Number, Please

Number, Please

Switchboard operators in 1930s or 1940s British-Mandate Palestine, a few years after the other photo (the chairs look a little less like torture devices). Matson Photo Service. View full size.

 

1974 - PBX Operators

Boy, does that bring back memories. My Dad opened up a doctor's exchange in San Antonio and had some PBX Switchboards very similar to these. They weren't quite as old, but extremely similiar.

One time, when I was working for him, I knew who the caller was calling in and I answered it in my best Lily Tomlin "Hello?" voice. Everyone was laughing, but my Dad wasn't -- at least, on the surface. :)

It most certainly brings back memories though....

Telephone operators

I worked at a telephone switchboard that was exactly like the one shown above. The chairs were the same. The headsets were the same and the switchboard had the cords that you see in the picture. I started my career in 1947. A few years later, the whole operation went dial and the office was closed. Boy, does that bring back memories!!

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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