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Washington County, Illinois
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Washington County
Stringing Telephone Wires to Switchboard in Nashville, Illinois
H. H. House, standing
String Phone Wires
Photograph courtesy of
Harrl Beatty Photograph Collection

1901 - Hoyleton
      In 1901 the village of Hoyleton granted H. William Rixmann and Henry F. Rixmann the right to build the first telephone line within the village limits. The Rixman Telephone Company merged with the Okaw Commercial Telephone Co. in 1956 that later was taken over by the Continental Telephone Co.

1905 - Washington County
Telephone System is Sold
Excerpt from : Urbana Daily Courier
Urbana, Illinois, March 4, 1905
Central Union Buys Bell Holdings in Washington County, Illinois
Nashville, Ill., March 4. -- The Central Union Telephone company, licensee of the American Bell Telephone company in Illinois, has absorbed by purchase the entire holdings of the later company in this, Washington county. The transfer includes the Nashville and Okawville exchanges and all toll lines. Owne M. Burgess, who was district manager, has resigned and is succeeded by Edmund Robb of Mount Vernon. The former has gone to Kansas City, Mo., to ssume the vice superintedency of construction of the Kansas-Missouri line, which embraces Missouri, with the exception of St. Louis; Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and the Indian territory. The Central Union proposes shortly to overhaul its entire system in this county.

1953 - Nashville
Dial Telephones Arrive in Nashville
Courtesy of Jo House
Nashville Telephone Directory
Illinois Bell Telephone Company
August 1952
1952 Phone Directory
Page 4 - Information
1. Look in the directory.
2. Lift receiver and listen a moment
    to see if anyone else is using the
    line. Then replace receiver, give
    the handle three or four complete
    turns, and then lift the receiver
3. Give number to operator.
      At the completion of a call, or
    to recall the operator, replace receiver
    and give the handle one quick turn.
- - - - -     - - - - -     - - - - -
To see 1952 directory and complete listings :
      Nashville Telephone Directory
Mt. Vernon Register-News
Mt. Vernon, Illinois
Wednesday, April 1, 1953
Page 2
Nashville Gets Dial Telephones
      NASHVILLE, Ill. --- Telephones in Nashville were converted yesterday from the old fashioned hand-crank type to a dial system. Mayor Wallace Huegely made the first two calls -- to a Springfield Illinois Bell official and to his wife.
      The changeover was completed at 2 p. m. on the 1050 phones in the Nashville exchange. The new system cost $114,000.
      Instead of cranking the magneto box on the wall, the patron now listens for the dial tone and then dials five digits.
      The Nashville system became and unattended office in the changeover and is now operated through Centralia. It is managed by Al Berg, manager of the Mt. Vernon office for Illinois Bell.
      All nine of the regular operators were offered jobs with the company in other offices. Three of the girls, Jessie Meyer, Ann Cruse and Irene Divenire, transferred to Mt. Vernon.

Courtesy of:
Moultrie County, IL Heritage Journal
Volume 42, Number 2, October 2014 Quarterly.
Furnished by Jo House
Listed first were the emergency phone numbers for fire, police, sheriff, State Police, FBI. Then:
To Obtain New Telephone Numbers Not in the Directory. Dial "Operator" (Zero) and ask for (town name) information.
To Obtain Assistance in Securing a Desired Connection: Dial "Operator" (Zero).
To Report a Telephone Out of Order: Dial "Operator" (Zero) and ask for "Repair Service."
WARNING! State law makes it a misdemeanor for a party line user to refuse to give up a line in an emergency. Any person who willfully refuses to surrender the use of a party line to another person to permit the summoning of fire, police, medical or other emergency aid for life or property can, upon conviction thereof be fined and imprisoned. Any person pretending that an emergency exists when in fact it does not, in order to get the use of a party line, can upon conviction also be fined and imprisoned.
How to Use Dial Service:
1.  Look in the Telephone Directory or your personal number list for the correct number. If the person or firm is not listed, dial Operator for information and ask for the number.
2.  Listen for the Dial Tone. The steady humming sound tells you that the dial equipment is ready for your call. Do not start to dial until you hear the dial tone. It is heard almost instantly when you remove the receiver. Occasionally, however, the dial tone may be delayed. This may occur when the equipment is handling an especially heavy load of calls. If you do not hear the dial tone immediately it does not mean that your telephone is out of order. Do not hang up - just wait a few seconds until you hear it and then dial your number.
3.  Dial Carefully. Dial each figure of the number in the order in which it appears in the telephone directory. Suppose, for example, you wanted to dial 873-2462. FIRST - Place your finger firmly in the dial opening associated with the number 8. SECOND. Turn the dial around in a clockwise direction until your finger strikes the finger stop. THIRD - Remove your finger and let the dial return freely to its normal position. Do not force or retard its movement or you may get the wrong number. Then dial the number, 7, and then each of the remaining figures of the number 3-2462 in the same manner. Always be careful to distinguish between the letter I and the number 1 - or you will get a wrong number.
IF A MISTAKE IS MADE. If you make a mistake while dialing or if your finger slips from the dial before it reaches the finger stop, hang up the receiver for a few seconds. Then remove the receiver again, listen for the dial tone, and dial each figure of the number again, as listed in the directory.
The ringing signal is an intermittent brr-r-brr-ing sound which indicates the bell of the telephone you are calling is being rung. Please wait at least ten rings for an answer.
If the telephone line you are calling is in use, you will hear a Brr-r-brr-r-brr sound. This is the "busy" signal and lets you know that the telephone line you have called is in use.
If you dial a number which is not in use, a taped announcer will inform you that an error has been made or that no such number exists. When you hear this announcement, replace your receiver, refer to your directory to be sure of the correct number and place your call again.
Always place the receiver carefully after each call, making sure it is not held up by a book or other object. When it is not replaced, even at an extension phone, it puts your telephone out of order and no one can call you. On party lines when one receiver is not replaced, every telephone on the line is out of service.
If you are on a four party or rural multi-party line. To call a party on your own line, you must dial 41 and the position numbers of your telephone and the party you are calling, then hang up. Both telephones will ring. When yours quits ringing, the other party has answered. Pick up your handset and talk. If the other party does not answer in two to four minutes, the ringing will stop. You can stop it at any time by lifting up your handset off the hook. Proper position codes were supplied to each party line subscriber on a special instruction card. Please keep this card with your directory.
You will receive faster service if you place your calls in the following manner: (1) Dial Operator and ask for "Long Distance." (2) Give the operator the name of the town you are calling. (3) Then the telephone number, if you know it, otherwise the name and address. (4) Hold the line, unless the operator says she will call you. (5) Wait for the operator to ask for your number. When asked for your number give all seven digits. CALLING BY NUMBER is important and will speed your service.
A station-to-station call is one on which you will talk to anyone at the called telephone and do not request a specific individual, a department or an extension telephone reached through a private switchboard. Charges begin when the called number answers. Station-to-station calls cost less than person-to-person calls.
A person-to-person call is one on which you wish to talk with a certain person or with a department or extension telephone reached through a private switchboard. Charges begin when the calling person speaks to and receives a response from the called person.
(1) Remove the receiver, BUT DO NOT DEPOSIT COIN.
(2) Listen until you hear the dial tone.
(3) With the receiver off, dial the number wanted.
(4) When the ringing signal stops and the called party has answered: THEN DEPOSIT COIN PROMPTLY.
(1) Remove the receiver, BUT DO NOT DEPOSIT COIN.
(2) Listen until you hear the dial tone.
(3) Dial"Operator." When the operator answers, give the call to her; deposit coin when the operator asks for it.
In the front of the directory you will find a complete listing of special and emergency numbers. The quickest way to place a Fire, Police or Emergency call is to dial the number listed. If the directory is not quickly accessible, or you cannot see the dial, place your finger in the first dial opening below the stop and pull the dial around until you reach the finger stop. When the operator answers, talk slowly, explain where you are calling from, who you are, and what your emergency is. She will assist you.
On Local Calls Only. All conversations are limited to a period of 6 minutes - - 1 minute prior to expiration of the Time Limit - you will hear an "Audible Warning Signal" that is similar to a busy signal, which indicates the conversation may continue but 1 minute longer. You will then be automatically disconnected at which time it will be necessary to place the receiver on the hook. This will free your telephone for further dialing - Time Limit does not apply to Long Distance.
TELEPHONE SUGGESTIONS.  From years of study and experience it has been found that the most satisfactory service can be had when certain practices are followed:
1.  Secure the telephone number from your directory before making a call. If the number is not listed, ask the operator to assist you.
2.  Speak clearly and directly into the telephone with your lips close to the mouthpiece.
3.  Answer your telephone promptly. This may prevent losing a message, save a life, or property.
4.  When your conversation is completed, place receiver in the cradle of Telephone.
5.   Keep receiver in cradle when the telephone is not in use, or your line will be out of service.
How to be a good telephone neighbor in 6 easy lessons:
1.   Answer promptly. This will insure receiving all calls intended for you and will prevent possible annoyance to another family on the line.
2.   Take a Breather. A "breathing spell" between calls gives your neighbor a chance at the line. It also permits incoming calls to come through.
3.   Listen Before Using. Make certain that the line is free before attempting to call a number. (In the case of dial service, listen for the Dial Tone. If you hear successive clicks, it means that someone else is dialing a number. Wait until they stop; then explain to the party that you have interfered with his dialing. And hang up).
4.   Replace Receiver Promptly. If you don't, the line is just as "busy" as if someone were talking on it. Incoming calls are blocked; and eventually no one can reach the operator. And when you find the line already in use, the neighborly way is to hang up gently.
5.   Tell the Children How. Teach 'em young how to use the telephone - to be considerate of others on the party line . . . not to talk unnecessarily long.
6.  Give Way in Emergencies. If you neighbor says the line is needed for an emergency, cut the call short and give the right-of-way. Doing so may help save life or property.

© 2014     Wayne Hinton
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