2047 M Street
Sunday, 1 -
4 p.m. Closed on all major holidays.
Call to make
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
of Frank H. Woods, who founded Lincoln Telephone Co. in 1903,
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