2 comments May 30th, 2008at 09:46pm Posted by Eli

Well, this is pretty cool.  And kinda funny:

The only known edition of the world’s first telephone book has just surfaced in Connecticut.

It will be auctioned along with a collection of noteworthy books and documents covering technology, science, math and philosophy over six centuries.

The 20-page directory was issued in November of 1878, just two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. The phone book contained information useful to 391 subscribers within the New Haven, Conn., area who were obviously still learning their way around the new communication device.

“Should you wish to speak to another subscriber you should commence the conversation by saying, ‘Hulloa!'” it instructs.

Tom Lecky, who is head of books and manuscripts at Christie’s auction house, which is handling the sale, told Discovery News, “The directions start off by amusingly saying, ‘Never take the telephone off the hook unless you wish to use it…When you are done talking say, ‘That is all,’ and the person spoken to should say, ‘O.K.'”

The book goes on to tell readers they should leave the “lower lip and jaw free.” They were also warned never to “use the wire more than three minutes at a time, or more than twice an hour” without first “obtaining permission from the main office.”


No phone numbers were printed in the Connecticut city’s milestone book — just the names of subscribers. It did, however, list businesses in a separate section at the end, making it the world’s first yellow pages too. The businesses included local newspapers, grocers, physicians and manufacturers.

Wow.  I can’t even begin to imagine what they would make of my Treo.  Yet another reminder of how far we’ve come technologically.  And how goofy the culture of a technology in its earliest stages can be.

That is all.

*waits patiently for someone to say O.K.*

Entry Filed under: Coolness,Technology,Weirdness


  • 1. ellroon  |  May 31st, 2008 at 3:35 am

    Hulloa? Wtf?.. oh, sorry. O.K. That is all? What? Hulloa?

    This new technology is so confusing!

  • 2. Eli  |  May 31st, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Oh, thank God. Now I can finally go to sleep…

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