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Telephone operator

From Academic Kids

A telephone operator at work on a private switchboard
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A telephone operator at work on a private switchboard

A telephone operator is either

With the development of computerized telephone dialing systems, many telephone calls which previously required a live operator can be placed automatically by the calling party without additional human intervention. Before the advent of automatic exchanges, it was impossible to make any call without the assistance of an operator. Callers rang up an operator at a switching office who then literally connected their wire to the proper circuit in order to complete the call. As phone systems became more sophisticated, this sort of direct intervention by the telephone operator was needed less and less.

As well those employed by the public networks, operators were also needed by companies to answer incoming calls and connect them to the correct extension. This function is still needed but direct inward dialling and computerized answering systems ('if you are calling about … please press 1') have reduced the workload of operators and in small companies the operator usually has other functions such as greeting visitors.

See also

External links

  • Early telephone operators (http://pbskids.org/wayback/tech1900/phone02.html). The very first telephone operators (from 1878 onwards) were teenage boys. They had been used successfully as telegraph operators for many years but proved unsuitable for telephone service. They were replaced by women and operators have been almost exclusively female ever since.
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