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Lady Matilda Maxwell

Telephone Exchange, 1920s

Burrell Collection Photo Library

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Telephone Exchange, 1920s

The trunks section of the Glasgow telephone exchange in the 1920s. A "trunk" was a telephone line connecting one urban centre with another and was so-called because it was likened to a tree trunk, with branches leading off from it. Britain's first telephone trunk line, connecting Halifax and Bradford, was inaugurated in 1880.

Glasgow's first telephone exchange was established in 1879 by David Graham in Douglas Street. It catered for members of the medical profession, but was so successful that Graham set up further exchanges to meet the needs of those working in law, stockbroking and commerce. In 1881 the Bell Telephone Co and the Edison Telephone Co introduced telephone services in the city, but all three businesses were soon swallowed up by the National Telephone Co.

Glasgow Corporation began running a competing telephone service at the start of the 20th century but in 1906 this was transferred to the General Post Office. In 1910 the National Telephone Company's license expired and the two services were amalgamated.

Reference: 1540.89.28

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Museums

Bell Telephone Co, Edison Telephone Co, General Post Office, GPO, National Telephone Co, phones, telephone companies, telephone exchanges, telephone operators, telephones, telephonists, trunk lines, women

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