The first telephone exchange was located in The Boardman Building, which has been demolished, and allowed more than two phones to be connected to each other. Thanks to the exchange, individuals only had to purchase a single phone and could connect to theoretically infinite other phones. This exchange was capable of connecting 64 lines and was built from scrap parts. The exchange was also host to the first ever telephone directory.
first telephone exchange was in the Boardman Building in New Haven, CT. The
original building was demolished in 1986 and turned into a parking garage, and the
exact location of the building is unknown. The telephone exchange was built and
designed by George W. Coy, who was inspired by Alexander Graham Bell’s lecture
demonstrating a three-way telephone call at the Skiff Opera House on April 27,
1877. After being inspired, Coy applied for a franchise license from Bell
Telephone Company and was approved on November 3, 1877.
switchboard was constructed from salvaged parts that Coy found elsewhere, and Herrick
P Frost and Walter Lewis provided funding to Coy to build the exchange. The
exchange could connect up to sixty-four customers, but only two conversations could
be had at once. The District Telephone Company of New Haven started business
with only twenty-one subscribers and charged $1.50 per month per line, this equates
to $38.71 in modern currency. Just one month after opening in January,
the company published the first telephone directory and had fifty subscribes
listed; many of these were businesses.
switchboards were invented, if someone wanted a telephone, they would buy them
in pairs and the phones would be directly connected to each other and could
only ring the other phone. Thanks to Coy’s switchboard, someone could buy one
phone and be able to connect to anyone who was also connected to the
switchboard by calling the central office and speaking with the operator and
asking to be connected to a certain line.
site of this exchange quickly outgrew the building, and a new exchange was built, causing the exchange in the Boardman Building to become obsolete. The building
was designated as a National Historic Landmark on January 29, 1964 and a plaque
was placed on April 23, 1965. But, in 1968, the building was purchased by the New
Haven Redevelopment Agency and was demolished and turned into a
parking garage. The building was demolished in 1973 as part of a 129.3-acre rehabilitation
project and the Landmark Designation was withdrawn later that year.