Featured Source: 1894 Telephone Lines

National Telephone Directory.
American Telephone & Telegraph Company. “National Telephone Directory.” October, 1894.

Directory Instructions for placing a telephone call.

A careful observance of the following will aid materially in securing good service:

To call Central Office, give the bell crank one sharp turn; then take the hand telephone from the hook; place it firmly against the ear and listen for the operator, who should answer, “What number?”

Give the operator the number of the station desired and the exchange within which such station is located.  For example: “NEW YORK: Cortlandt 1520;  “CHICAGO: Main 52.”  The operator will then repeat back your order, and may, to avoid errors and to expedite the service, ask for further information in relation to the station called for.

In talking, speak directly into the transmitter, with lips as close as possible to the mouthpiece.  When you are through talking, return the hand telephone to the hook; give the bell crank one sharp turn, to notify the operator that you have completed your conversation.

Answer your calls promptly.  It is impossible to give quick service unless this is done.

Learn more by reading the Inside Adams blog post – Pic of the Week: “What number please?”