Scuffle at the Telephone Office, 1907

We tend to take our telephone service for granted these days, but the residents of Skidmore and the surrounding area saw things differently in the early 1900s.  The paper and its readers seemed quite familiar with the “hello girls” and “hello boys” (operators), too — we suppose today’s equivalent would be talking to Siri.

From the “Carden City Items” column in the January 17, 1907 Skidmore New Era (Skidmore, Missouri), page 8:

There was quite a disturbance in the Mutual central office Sunday evening between Tom Bains, the hello boy, and Charles Kelley, when the latter was waiting to get through to Corning, Ia.  During the scuffle some damage was done to the switch board and a stove leg was broken.  Bains will not tolerate loafers around the office, for which the patrons of the line are thankful.

The Farmers Mutual Telephone Company relocated its offices a few months earlier, as we see in this item from the August 16, 1906 Skidmore New Era, page 1:

Move Telephone Office.

A force of men were at work the first of the week moving the Farmers Mutual Telephone central office from the Wood building, across the street from The New Era office to rooms in the second story of the Thomas building.

The moving of the office necessitated considerable labor but the new rooms are much more comfortable than were those at the old location.  All that Tom Parsons, the “hello girl” needs now is a wife to keep house for him and from all reports the wife will soon be forthcoming.


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