West Hill House B&B

Not Your Average Telephone Company

May 28th, 2009 by Peter MacLaren

Attending a telephone company’s open house may not sound like a very interesting event but that’s probably because you don’t have a phone company like our Waitsfield and Champlain Valley Telecom. Our telecom company  is a family owned, independent phone company which has served our area continually since 1904. You can bet there have been many, many advancements in telecoms since 1904 and the open house presented displays and demonstrations of  products and services through the years. 

We saw photos of the early days, like this photo collage displayed on the WCVT website.

history_collage

safety first

Safety First

 

Peter examined some early equipment

Checking out equipment

Checking out equipment

and watched a demonstration of the best way to climb a pole! 

 

We also learned how a step-by-step telephone switching unit worked “in the old days”. Invented in 1888 and patented in 1891,this type of switch was used in some locations up into the 1980s when they were then being replaced by digital switches.

The last demonstration we went to was fascinating to watch;  the fusing of fiber optic strands. Total cleanliness and exact cleaving is required to prepare the strands. The two ends are then fused together with an electric arc in a small machine that exactly matches up the ends of the fibers. Quite amazing to see how technology has changed even over the last 30 years.

You can read more about this little phone company with a big history, it’s only one of the interesting aspects of the Mad River Valley. 

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