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1879 __ Use of telephone numbers
Comment : Starting in Lowell, Massachusetts, telephone numbers replace names. Before that the operator had to memorize or look up people by their proper names to connect them. The latter part of 1879 and the early part of 1880 saw the first use of telephone numbers at Lowell, Massachusetts. This story is that during an epidemic of measles, Dr. Moses Greeley Parker feared that Lowell's four operators might succumb and bring about a paralysis of telephone service. He recommended the use of numbers for calling Lowell's more than 200 subscribers so that substitute operators might be more easily trained in the event of such an emergency. The telephone management at Lowell feared that the public would take the assignment of numbers as an indignity but the telephone users saw the practical value of the change immediately and it went into effect with no stir whatsoever. (Although attempts had been made, the implementation of dial telephone systems had yet to occur.) In 1879 in Lowell, Massachusetts a measles epidemic broke out and physician Moses Parker suggested that each of Lowell's 200 subscribers were assigned a number just in case all four of the operators became sick and they had to quickly train new operators. As a result the first telephone numbers were issued and used in Lowell, Massachusetts in late 1879 and early 1880. (Compiled from various sources)
French comment : A Lowell, Massachusetts, une épidémie de rougeole rend indisponibles tous les opérateurs. Les remplaçants, des intérimaires, ont du mal à mémoriser les noms. A la suggestion du médecin local, on décide d'utiliser des numéros, bien que le management de Bell trouve cette pratique insultante. Ainsi commence l'ère des plans de numérotation, dits aujourd'hui plans d'adressage. (Claude Rigault, “La commutation téléphonique”)
Urls : http://www.ecglongdistance.net/state/massachusetts.aspx (last visited ) http://www.ahti.fr/publications/Rigault.htm (last visited )

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