Frank H. Woods Telephone Pioneer Association
Telephone Museum

Lincoln, Nebraska

                                  One of America's Hidden Treasures



2047 M Street
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508

402 436-4640 

Hours of Operation
Sunday, 1 - 4 p.m. Closed on all major holidays. 

Special tours 
upon request. 
Call to make arrangements. 

Admission is free. 

Donations accepted.


Cordboard Room
The oldest cordboard (operator answering position) in the collection dates from the turn of the century. Drop down transmitters were used on the earliest boards. This display also shows the evolution of telephone operator headsets -- from the 10.5 pound Gilliland harness used in the 1880s to the smaller, lightweight ones that were developed after WWII.

Strowger Telephone Sets
Frank H. Woods purchased the latest technology available (the Automatic Secret System) at the inception of the company in 1903 to compete against the Bell system which used manual calling through an operator. 

Candlestick Phones
An American Electric "Pencil Shaft"  Candlestick from 1898 is the oldest phone in the candlestick collection. Originally, the Candlestick was called the upright desk phone. Early candlesticks were nickel-plated and cost about $8 in 1895. As tele- phones became more common, they shifted to using brass painted black, which was less expensive than nickel.

Desk Vanity
This Kellog oak desk vanity, circa 1900, was designed with the telephone in mind. Desk vanity phones were used in hotel lobbies, train stations, and the more affluent homes of the period.
Coin Telephones
This phone booth (circa 1905) features a solid panel door and double-glass windows and walls for sound proofing . It was used in a drug store in Barnard, Kansas, and houses a Western Electric 301 Fiddleback telehone with a three-slot coin collector. Other early coin phones in the collection include the 5-slot "Silver Dollar" Paystation (the large unit left of the booth) that accepted nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars and silver dollars. Also shown is a candlestick phone with coin collector attached.  Severl early phone booth signs adorn the payphone display area.

In the Early Days
Drop down transmitters were used on the earliest cord boards. The extremely heavy 10.5 pound Gilliland Harness (shown on the manequin) was worn by early day telephone operators in the 1880s. It allowed the operator full use of both hands to operate the keys and cords to make the call connections. Originally, young boys were operators because it was feared young women would be at risk working night shifts.  Eventually, the young boys were replaced in part because of their non-professional behavior.

The Office of Frank H. Woods, who founded Lincoln Telephone Co. in 1903,  has been recreated at the telephone museum named in his honor. Photographs of Calvin Coolidge, Colonel F. M. Woods (Mr. Woods' father) and General John Pershing are displayed above his original desk and chair. Mr. Woods was involved in coal mining, dairy, farming and acquisitions, among other things. 


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