Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Teletype Operator



It is interesting to ponder the progress telecommunication has made in the last 150 years. We have gone from the telegraph all the way to the point that virtually everyone on earth is interconnected via cell phone. I find it interesting in traveling in Africa to see that people who have neither running water nor electricity have a cell phone. One of the steps along the way between the telegraph and the smartphone was the teletype. The teletype allowed an operator at one location to type on a keyboard, and that message be printed out at a different location. The technology was still very similar to the telegraph, but the teletype was like a typewriter and did not require the operator to know morse code.

10 comments:

  1. In my first job, in 1958, I worked for a natural gas company that had offices in three states. I used a teletype and thought it great fun to communiate that way. Nowadays, I can't be bothered to care about "texting." What does that say about me? But hands off my cell phone!

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  2. interesting how they have an additional giant clock to show Mountain Time. Also, each clock has a small sign saying that the time is one second fast...I think that's what it says. Is that to account for the moment that the typist glances up at the clock to quote the time?

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  3. When I worked for Ma Bell in the early 60s, we used TWX machines to send information from Remittance to the various business offices. There was something you did that made a bell ring - cannot remember now what it was - but my girl friend and I figured out how to send Jingle Bells to all of the other offices. Unfortunately, the bosses didn't think we were nearly as clever as we did.

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  4. This picture was taken in Seligman, Arizona on the Santa Fe Railroad. Seligman was probably part of a railroad division that spanned both the Pacific and Mountain timezone, thus the requirement for clocks showing both zones.

    These are extremely accurate Seth Thomas regulators with mercury compensated pendulums.

    Time regulation was a HUGE concern of railroads back in that day. If you worked for a railroad you probably had a Hamilton 992B or similar pocket watch. You were required to bring these in to a jeweler under contract to the railroad who would check, set and regulate your watch. It was a serious disciplinary problem if you did not do this. You were not permitted to set your own watch.

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    Replies
    1. My grandfather was an engineer for B&O, here in Baltimore. I do remember his watch, and it was a Seth Thomas, which I thought was such a lovely I named one of my dolls Seth. When you asked him what time it was, he'd say 11:23, where most folks would just answer "Oh, 11:25".

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  5. Beautiful clocks.

    I never learned proper typing. When I was in college I paid a typist to type my papers. It was my mother. I cleaned her house; she typed my papers. We were both happy.

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  6. See the very tall stack of papers in the background? Every piece of information on those papers can now be stored in a chip the size of your thumbnail.

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  7. I think that its funny how much technology has gone into making phones wireless and inexpensive, so that people can talk to one another anywhere in the world......but there are so many people who text all of the time. It seems to me like you're taking a step backwards to send a message the way that their Grandparents did. I get sucked into this all of the time when my children send me text messages, when I'd really rather hear their voice on the other end of the line. And a real conversation is so much quicker and accurate, I don't have to guess what all of their half completed sentences mean.

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  8. In the early 80's we used Telex. Not sure if that is quite the same thing as teletype. We dumped the telex in favor of the fax machine. We had our first fax machine around 1983 and it was so big we had a seperate room for it. The paper was a thermal type of paper that came in big heavy rolls. I remember that huge fax machine was state of the art. My old dual floppy IBM XT was pretty impressive and then we got a big ole 10 meg external drive for it. Can you imagine, 10 MEG !

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