Short Short Long; Long Short Long: The Evolution of Telephone Service in Grey County
Growing up in rural Osprey Township, Grey County, in the 1980s, and 1990s up until the arrival of dial-up Internet, our home shared a “party line” with our neighbours. If the ring was long-short-long, it was for us, but if it was short-short-long, it was someone calling for across the road. If you picked up the phone and someone was on it, you had to wait your turn, and so, accordingly, you wouldn’t want to spend too much time on the phone, especially if you had heard someone pick up.
Answering machine? That was a notepad and pen, or call back later if no one answers. Want to call the neighbour with whom you share the line? Call, hang up, wait for the phone to stop ringing and then pick it up again. We had a rotary phone, although later we were able to get a touch phone with a pulse setting. Our service was provided by Bell Telephone, but Grey County has a rich history of rural telephone clubs, cooperatives and companies in the era before it was deemed profitable to service rural customers – the precursor to our party line. To learn more about when the switchboard was king, please visit our virtual exhibit, Rural Telephone Companies in Grey County.
These items are preserved in Massie Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir Vol. 1.
Posting by Karin Noble
Virtual exhibit by Cecilie Posthumus