Directory | Hackaday
I often think that we – or maybe the people who control our money – lack the courage to take on really big projects. It is hard to imagine the laying of the transatlantic cable for the first time today, for example. When I want a good example of this effect, I usually say something like, “Can you imagine going into a meeting room today at a large company and saying,” We plan to hook up cables to every house and company in the world and connect them all together. ‘ Yet that is what the telephone company did. But it turns out that running copper wire everywhere was only a major challenge for the telephone company. The other printed phone books. In today’s world, it is easy to imagine a computer system that keeps track of all the phone numbers that can spit out a printed version for duplication. But this is a relatively recent innovation. How did major city directories work before the advent of the computer?
It turns out that the Saturday Evening Post explained how it all worked in a 1954 article. We’re not sure there weren’t any computerized records in 1954, but the whole process was still largely manual. . In that year, approximately 60,000,000 directories were published each year in the United States alone. Some of them were small, but the Chicago directory – not counting the suburban directories – was over 2,100 pages long. In New York, the solution was to print a separate book for each borough. Even then. the Manhattan book was three inches thick and is expected to reach five inches by 1975.
continue reading “Technical audacity and the telephone directory”