1936. George Street, West Yorkshire, houses a gleaming, brand-new telephone exchange where a group of capable girls works the complicated electrical switchboards. Among them are Cynthia, Norma and Millicent, who relish the busy, efficient atmosphere and the independence and friendship their jobs have given them. But when Millicent connects a telephone call for an old friend, and listens in to the conversation - breaking one of the telephonists' main rules - she, and then Norma and Cynthia too, become caught up in a story of scandal, corruption and murder. Soon, the jobs of all three girls are on the line. Norma’s romance is in ruins. And Millicent has entered a world of vice . . . In tough times, the telephone girls will need to call on their friends more than ever. A wonderful story of camaraderie, friendship and triumph over adversity that fans of Daisy Styles, Donna Douglas and Call the Midwife will adore.
When the need for telephone operators arose in the 1870s, the assumption was that they should all be male. Wages for adult men were too high, so boys were hired. They proved quick to argue with the subscribers, so females replaced them. Women were calmer, had reassuring voices and rarely talked back. Within a few years, telephone operators were all female and would remain so. The pay was low and working conditions harsh. The job often impaired their health, as they suffered abuse from subscribers in silence under pain of dismissal. Discipline was stern—dress codes were mandated, although they were never seen by the public. Most were young, domestic and anything but militant. Yet many joined unions and walked picket lines in response to the severely capitalistic, sexist system they worked under.
OF INTEREST TO: readers of social history, students of technological innovation With the use of the telephone has come a new habit of mind. The slow and sluggish mood has been sloughed off. The old to-morrow habit has been superseded by "Do It To-day"; and life has become more tense, alert, vivid. -from "The Telephone and National Efficiency" This classic 1910 book-by one of the first stars of technology journalism-is a charming and highly readable overview of the impact of the telephone in its first quarter-century. Discover: . what led Alexander Graham Bell to his breakthrough . the early ridicule Bell's "toy" endured . the adventurous business pioneers of the new technology . the scientific refinements that made the telephone more useful . how the technology quickly shifted from a novelty to a necessity . how the telephone was revolutionized banking, industry, journalism, government, and even farming . and much more. Canadian journalist HERBERT NEWTON CASSON (1869-1951) contributed to numerous New York and London publications, writing mostly about business and technology. He is also the author of The Romance of Steel: The Story of a Thousand Millionaires. ALSO FROM COSIMO: Casson's Making Money Happily: Twelve Tips on Success and Happiness, The Crime of Credulity, and Creative Thinkers
A Series Which Introduces And Explains To The Child The Working And The Mechanics Of Things He Is Familiar With, While Also Tracing Their History. Scientific Principles Are Explained With Simple Diagrams And Supplemented By Anecdotes And Cartoons.
The telephone marks the place of an absence. Affiliated with discontinuity, alarm, and silence, it raises fundamental questions about the constitution of self and other, the stability of location, systems of transfer, and the destination of speech. Profoundly changing our concept of long-distance, it is constantly transmitting effects of real and evocative power. To the extent that it always relates us to the absent other, the telephone, and the massive switchboard attending it, plugs into a hermeneutics of mourning. The Telephone Book, itself organized by a "telephonic logic," fields calls from philosophy, history, literature, and psychoanalysis. It installs a switchboard that hooks up diverse types of knowledge while rerouting and jamming the codes of the disciplines in daring ways. Avital Ronell has done nothing less than consider the impact of the telephone on modern thought. Her highly original, multifaceted inquiry into the nature of communication in a technological age will excite everyone who listens in. The book begins by calling close attention to the importance of the telephone in Nazi organization and propaganda, with special regard to the philosophy of Martin Heidegger. In the Third Reich the telephone became a weapon, a means of state surveillance, "an open accomplice to lies." Heidegger, in Being and Time and elsewhere, elaborates on the significance of "the call." In a tour de force response, Ronell mobilizes the history and terminology of the telephone to explicate his difficult philosophy. Ronell also speaks of the appearance of the telephone in the literary works of Duras, Joyce, Kafka, Rilke, and Strindberg. She examines its role in psychoanalysis—Freud said that the unconscious is structured like a telephone, and Jung and R. D. Laing saw it as a powerful new body part. She traces its historical development from Bell's famous first call: "Watson, come here!" Thomas A. Watson, his assistant, who used to communicate with spirits, was eager to get the telephone to talk, and thus to link technology with phantoms and phantasms. In many ways a meditation on the technologically constituted state, The Telephone Book opens a new field, becoming the first political deconstruction of technology, state terrorism, and schizophrenia. And it offers a fresh reading of the American and European addiction to technology in which the telephone emerges as the crucial figure of this age.
Why is there such a striking difference between English spelling and English pronunciation? How did our seemingly relatively simple grammar rules develop? What are the origins of regional dialect, literary language, and everyday speech, and what do they have to do with you? Seth Lerer's Inventing English is a masterful, engaging history of the English language from the age of Beowulf to the rap of Eminem. Many have written about the evolution of our grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary, but only Lerer situates these developments in the larger history of English, America, and literature. Lerer begins in the seventh century with the poet Caedmon learning to sing what would become the earliest poem in English. He then looks at the medieval scribes and poets who gave shape to Middle English. He finds the traces of the Great Vowel Shift in the spelling choices of letter writers of the fifteenth century and explores the achievements of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of 1755 and The Oxford English Dictionary of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He describes the differences between English and American usage and, through the example of Mark Twain, the link between regional dialect and race, class, and gender. Finally, he muses on the ways in which contact with foreign languages, popular culture, advertising, the Internet, and e-mail continue to shape English for future generations. Each concise chapter illuminates a moment of invention-a time when people discovered a new form of expression or changed the way they spoke or wrote. In conclusion, Lerer wonders whether globalization and technology have turned English into a world language and reflects on what has been preserved and what has been lost. A unique blend of historical and personal narrative, Inventing English is the surprising tale of a language that is as dynamic as the people to whom it belongs.
First published in 1948, when it was the best-selling mystery of the year in the author’s native Australia, Murder in the Telephone Exchange stars feisty young operator Maggie Byrnes. When one of her more unpopular colleagues is murdered — her head bashed in with a “buttinski,” a piece of equipment used to listen in on phone calls — Maggie resolves to turn sleuth. Some of her coworkers are acting strangely, and Maggie is convinced she has a better chance of figuring out who is responsible for the killing than the rather stolid police team assigned to the case, who seem to think she herself might have had something to do with it. But then one of her friends is murdered too, and it looks like Maggie might be next. Narrated with verve and wit, this is a whodunit in the tradition of Dorothy L. Sayers and Daphne du Maurier, by turns entertaining and suspenseful, and building to a gripping climax.