Yesterday, I received a thank you card from the Lisbon NH Area Historical Society for a donation. On the card was this interesting phone along with a description.
Installed in 1948 at Snell’s Bakery on Main Street in Lisbon, this old fire telephone, which only received calls and could not be dialed, was used there until the 1970s. It may have been used earlier in the Snell family’s previous restaurant business. Bakery owner Victor G. Snell, a Lisbon Fire Department member since the 1920s, was the Lisbon Fire Chief from 1948-1961, and his wife, Catherine, answered many fire calls at the bakery as well as punching the siren every day at noon. Fire phones were installed in several Lisbon homes as well, and when the fire number 2211 was dialed, all the phones would ring. The person answering the phone sounded the fire siren, and the station was called on a regular phone which rang until a responder arrived and received the information.
Think about this for just a minute. A phone that didn’t dial out? A siren to get a volunteer fireman’s attention? This phone was still being used until 1970?
According to a January 2017 study, 95% of Americans now have a cell phone – 77% smart phones, and 18% other cell phones. We are online texting, tweeting, posting, commenting, and calling whoever and whenever we want including 911 for immediate medical, police, or fire response.
In my lifetime, I’ve seen party lines for rotary dial phones, wall phones with cords long enough they could tie up a burglar, phone in a box, princess phone that fell off the table whenever you moved, and a Snoopy phone. We bought one of the first cell phones back in the late 1980’s for our daughter to carry in her car, and it was the size of a small suitcase.
Now, a cell phone is in every hand from toddler to senior being swiped as we go about our daily life 24/7.
Personally, I’d love to know what Alexander Graham Bell would think about this phone revolution. What do you think is next? ☎︎
…the times they are a-changing