SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

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.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

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!!

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.