WHAT IT TOOK TO MAKE A LONG DISTANCE CALL IN THE 1940s
• Ring local operator and ask for long distance operator.
• Long distance operator asks for name and phone number of the caller and if the caller will talk to anyone who answers the phone or wants to talk person-to-person (talk to a specific person).
• Long distance operator asks for the city and telephone number being called. The operator may have to look up the number.
• Depending on where the call is to, the long distance operator may give the information to yet another operator.
• That operator completes the call, times how long the parties talk, records the charges and gives the information to the original local operator. A ticket listing the charges is given to the local phone company’s bookkeeper, who charges the caller’s account.
• If the party being called does not answer or the person asked for in a person-to-person call is not there, the operator asks if the caller wants the operator to keep trying to reach the party. If the caller wants the operator to keep trying, the operator keeps calling every 20 minutes for as long as it takes to reach the party or as long as the customer requests.
—Jean Pageler, telephone operator in Wamego from 1942-1947