Today in History – December 5, 1879 – First automatic telephone switching system patented. Almon B. Strowger was an undertaker in Kansas City, who was competing against another undertaker whose wife was rumored to be diverting phone calls to her husband’s business. Strowger developed a system of automatic switching using an electromechanical switch based around electromagnets that got rid of the human operator. Although the idea of automatic switching was first invented in 1879 by Connolly & McTigthe, Strowger was the first to put it to effective use and formed the ‘Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange’ in October 1891.
For more information, see the Engineering Pathway’s resources on telephone switching and telecommunications For related educational resources, visit the Electrical Engineering Education community site.