When people first started using the telephone they would often yell into the wrong part, and when they did get on the phone, they had to figure out what to say to start a conversation: “Ahoy” was Alexander Graham Bell’s preferred option.

The First Telephone Book Had Fifty Listings and No Numbers

We know exactly when the now-defunct expression “I’m in the book” became a saying: 1878.

Since the advent of the internet, the print phone book has largely become an artifact of a past age. At least one city has attempted to ban the phone book’s yellow pages on environmental grounds. But in February 1878, the phone book was cutting-edge technology.

First published on this day in 1878, the telephone directory widely considered to be the absolute first phone book was nothing but a sheet of cardboard with the names of both private people and businesses who had a telephone.

The fact that there were 50 people to call in New Haven, Connecticut in 1878 definitely had something to do with the fact that the telephone was invented near th… Continue Reading (2 minute read)

6 thoughts on “When people first started using the telephone they would often yell into the wrong part, and when they did get on the phone, they had to figure out what to say to start a conversation: “Ahoy” was Alexander Graham Bell’s preferred option.”

  1. West-Painter

    Ahoy there! I am from Microsoft and you have a virus on your machine

  2. -SaC

    When the Bell Co. started giving instruction booklets for phones, they included the advice to start calls with a polite ‘Hulloo-a’ and to conclude calls with a firm ‘**THAT IS ALL.**’

    They also advised lifting the receiver every hour or so to check if anyone was on the other end, since there was no indicator bell just yet.

  3. lank81

    My grandmother who is now 93 always tells a story about when she was a teenager. Her sister asked her to hold the line for her, so not understanding, hung up the phone and held on to the actual receiver line. Her sister returns a few minutes later to find her and burst out laughing. I always chuckle when I hear this one.

  4. AutoBat

    Mr. Burns uses Ahoy-hoy as a greeting because he’s so old it’s implied that he would have had one of the first telephones.

  5. PhoneMak2

    In Mexico, everyone answers the phone with Bueno because back in the day, the switchboards would direct the calls and the callers wanted to make sure that the line sounded good on their side before the call was connected.

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