The Age of Advertising: New York Telephone

This WW II-era advertisement from New York Telephone is a reminder of the enormous changes in the nature, quality, and ease electronic communication compared with prior decades.  What was formerly limited – in time and distance – is now near-ubiquitous; near-instantaneous.

Like the other New York Telephone ad displayed at this blog, the “center” of this advertisement features a telephone operator wearing a headset and microphone.

The text (presented below) is accompanied by sketches of a soldier, a businessman or professional in a managerial position, a younger businessman or factory manager, a clergyman, and, the national capital. 

Of particular interest in the ad are the rotary (!) telephone and stopwatch.  The message:  “Time is limited.”

Imagine the number of long distance calls required to train and equip a division of troops, then move the men to their embarkation point.

Think of the many more calls necessary for war production and supplying our armed forces overseas.

It’s easy to see why these calls will often overcrowd the long distance lines.  Yet we all want every such call to go through quickly.

You can help by making your long distance call as brief as possible when the traffic is heavy.  Sometimes, when there is an extra rush of calls, the operator may ask you to limit your call to five minutes.

We know you’ll be glad to cooperate in this mutual effort to speed vital war messages.


The Age of Advertising: New York Telephone Company (1944 – 1945)

Electronic communication, circa 1945: An advertisement for the New York Telephone Company, from The New York Times in 1944 or 1945. 

Of note: The early style rotary phone. 

Of note: Manufacturing.  That is, physical manufacturing!  “And when the factories that make switchboards – now busy producing war communications equipment – resume peacetime production, it will take time to manufacture the quality needed, and still more time to fit the new switchboards to existing central offices.”

Of note:  The reference to the Red Cross, consistent with the tenor of the (war) times.

Of note: Could Mr. New York Telephone be a distant cousin of Reddy Kilowatt? (!)

(More ads to follow.)

– Michael G. Moskow