A visual Snapshot





Telephone Operators

In 1894 the manual telephone switchboard was invented. This meant that people could talk and connect with those who had a telephone. At the turn of the century the demand for this service started growing.

Initially young boys were hired to work the switchboard, but that turned out to be a mistake as they were sometimes rude and misbehaved with callers. As a result young females were hired. They were soft spoken and polite.

Moreover, there was a huge cost saving because women got paid half or a quarter of the salary of male telephone operators.

The telephone exchange in Sackville New Brunswick was established in 1924. Over the years many women worked here as telephone operators. This is an image of five female telephone operators at the switchboard. They were employed by NB Telephone Company located at 32 York Street in 1946.

Source of information: David Filwood's article History: Early 20th Century Switchboard Operators Pioneered Women's Workplace Rights


Image Source: Mount Allison University Archives 2011.18/11