KinnieBee: Early version of a party line? My family’s farm had those in the…70s(?) and the neighbors could hear everything.
FedsDedderals: > a young woman homesteading in the area in 1899, remembered how the line kept loneliness at bay and brought neighbors closer together. “The theory was that we would answer only when our own ring sounded, but whenever the bell rang, every woman on the line rushed to a receiver,”
> Homesteaders often suffered from what today might be thought of as crippling clinical depression, brought on by days, if not weeks, of solitude, isolation, and physical labor. Marble herself lived alone on a property of 160 acres. “News and gossip were common property, like the sunlight, and we never had any privacies when we went to the telephone.” … Every now and then, someone cut into a conversation, while multiple listeners reduced what any one of them would be able to hear.“Get off the line!” was a familiar refrain.
CaptnSave-A-Ho: The original Farmers Only dating site!
cignasty: FenceBook was cool until the first famers parents generation started wiring in with their lame misunderstanding of the technology and stale horse memes so the farmers had to start using Instafarm to share stern unsmiling selfies. Only 1890s kids remember.
generaltso78: That is pretty crazy considering the telephone wasn’t even available a decade before. Seemed to be implemented pretty quickly.
jeebs67: Lol my grandma just told me about this a few months ago. When she was little each house had their own ring so if you heard the neighbours rung you’d pick up your phone and rubberneck their conversation. This was in the 30’s too so it was around for awhile
animengus: Imagine what phone sex would be like.
unknownhypercam: Christ I can’t imagine how bored and lonely I would be as some farmer in bumfuck nowhere before high speed internet or even TV.
DarthLysergis: My grandmother used to talk about this. Not quite the same situation. They all were. Connected to one line though. She mentioned that one woman would frequently get overly chatty and take up the line forever.
rainwulf: For anyone who is curious, here is some more info of the batteries used for the phones of that era.
They are the same batteries that run model t ford ignition systems!
ascottishman100: I was actually curious about how they powered their phones without being connected to the main grid. Learned about the dynamos on the phones, that crank you see on really old telephones. Never thought about that crank like that before, fascinating.
TooShiftyForYou: Network connections were very sharp back then.
DystryR: I too listened to The Dollop
/r/thedollop – is a ~~bi~~ weekly American history podcast, where /u/Daveanthony1 reads a story from American history to his friend Gareth Reynolds (/u/gphelious). Who has no idea what the topic is going to be.
Episode 305 – The Devil’s Wire is about the invention of barbed wire & how it changed America
tasty213: It was great until someone decided they owned the barbed wire and charged people to use the same service
blaghart: meanwhile in 2017 isps are actively preventing this sort of community-based system from being implemented
randomnighmare: Could that be a primitive party line?
PeaceInExile: You wouldn’t have to be lonely,
If farmers only just connected their phones to barbed wire fences to call eachother in groups or just whoever answered the phone and talked with eachother
superkoolj: The original farmersonly.com
whiskeyknitting: Now we have group chats.
SwordfishVPenfish: I’m more interested in the fact that *barbed wire* was invented two years before the telephone.
snoosh00: i LISTENED TO the 99% invisible episode yesterday
NthngSrs: The original FarmersOnly.com
AUWarEagle82: We have been able to use electrical wire to carry LAN signals, and they are now experimenting using power lines to carry gigabit signal.
Folks figure out ways to get things done. It’s what we do here in America!
alfacinho: The patent for the first telephone was issued in 1876. How many were in circulation by the 1880s. In my neck of the woods, my barbed wire fence might touch a neighbor’s but not well enough to conduct electricity. You have any references on what you learned today?
gadgeteerianism: I grew up with these sort of party lines. Not using barbed wire, but on a rural farm.
304079: Phone-sex orgy?
Highasgiraffepussy88: I can only imagine 20 people excited to talk to someone, trying to all get a word in.
Eshyj: Ah the classic party line.
81Bell: wanna see few more sec after that hello
DivestInWallStreet: Before the barbed wire phones, there was… [Hollerin’](http://folkstreams.net/film-detail.php?id=238) *Welcome to Spiveys Corner* Doc film (1978)
Culvertfun: I had a party line as a kid in the 80’s. My sister and I would listen in on the girl that lived next door when she talked to her boyfriend. Two rings=teenage angst
ShermanCastro: He didn’t change lane. hello
randarrow: “I can’t hear you, what? Repeat! I think Bessy is itching again!”
EthyleneGlycol: My grandmother worked at a rural Wisconsin phone company back in the middle of the twentieth century. The switchboard operators were often listening in on your calls as well.
infinus5: one of these systems still kind of exists in northwest BC Canada, its called the “trapper phone”. it was set up in 1906 by fur trappers, they layed over 300 km worth of copper cable over a 15 year period, using the tops of trees as the poles. It stretched from Dease lake BC to Telegraph creek to eventually some smaller settlements in the BC interior around Terrace. Parts of it are still being maintained by locals and even a few new sections were added on to it as recently as the 1970s.
Deltair114: Ah the OG Groupchat
PizzaWithKetchup: Phone sex? More like phone orgy
1pandas_mom: Used to listen to my Sunday school teacher on the phone on our party line in the early 80s and all the juicy gossip therein. She never knew how a six year old knew to ask if her husband had come back from his trip with Miss Triss the lady he’d left with.