Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

The First Internet

  1. #1

    The First Internet

    Back in the 30s I used to spend some summers with my grandparents on the farm in Wisconsin.

    They had a "Farmers Telephone system". They farmers owned it & maintained it. It was a system of TWO wires on telephone poles running through the whole area. It had a central office in the local village.

    They did not have any electricity or running water. It was 5 rooms & a path!

    It ran on a signal system. Any emergency was one long ring! Everyone got on the line to find out what the emergency was. The problem was that every listener degraded the line somewhat! (Broadband?)

    My grand parents' signal was 2 longs & 1 short.

    You rang other people on the line by their ring code (URL).

    Everyone could hear all the rings & know who was being called!
    This was great if you wanted to find out what was going on!

    Everyone could listen to all conversations. If someone was sick, you would listen in on their ring to find out how they were. Some phones had switches. When you switched it on other people online could not hear what was going on in the room. It was called the "Rubber Switch", because it allowed listening to other people without them knowing. This was Called "Rubbernecking"

    Gossip was rife! Just like Facebook without video!

    It was used to find the time, cooking instructions, advice on sick animals etc.

    Who was going into town so you could hook a ride Etc., Etc.

    It was the FIRST Internet!!


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  2. #2

    How very interesting, Tully. You are absolutely correct. It was the first Internet even though you were using a telephone instead of a computer. One cannot really call it an automated telephone system either. Do you remember if this was set up as a complete loop or did it spoke?

    How we've come so far with technology! I have a nephew that works for at&t out of the Twin Cities. He works on a project now that’s developing 4G. It will work off what they call Super WiFi. Voice will be changed to data and transmitted over an Intranet. Mind boggling technology indeed!
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  3. #3

    Rockville Maryland USA
    Posts : 14
    Windows 8 Enterprise

    Our home phone was just like that, except it had an operator who, we believed listened in all the calls. Our ring was 1 long and a short. you had to ask for people by name not a number.. Interesting time when we finally got a dial phone, our number was 2141 which was easy to remember. du 2141 was our exchange.

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  4. #4

    Very interesting Tully, thanks for sharing that with us
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  5. #5

    First Internet

    It was a loop!

    Also had a central office. Had to call into it to make long distant calls.

    A long distant call was a momentous event. It was very expensive. A long distant call was to the Capital of Wisconsin. Madison. It probably cost 10 cents, the price of a gallon of gasoline!

    Calling Madison Wisc. was like calling to another country. To us it was the edge of our world!

    The girl in the central office was the Facebook of the day, she knew everything & everybody!

    All farm activity & planning was carried out over the phone. Everything was a community activity.

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  6. #6

    It was a loop!
    I figured as much otherwise you'd need a switchboard to connect line to line, although the operator had to connect to onother outside line to get long distance. Everyone could hear that conversation too??!! She had to listen in on all of them!

    The girl in the central office was the Facebook of the day, she knew everything & everybody!
    LOL! That's funny stuff, Tully.
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  7. #7

    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    That's quite fascinating...

    By 30s, you mean 1930s?
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  8. #8

    Yes, Cokie. 1930's. Tully was born in the late 20's. He's 80+ years old. The oldest on the forum.

    Thing is, and I just thought of this, he's old enough to be my father. That makes him old enogh to be your great-great-grandfather.
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  9. #9

    That really makes me feel old!

    But me & my wife enjoy every moment!

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  10. #10

    Posts : 5,707
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    Wow, that must be amazing to see the progress of technology!
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