Early Use of Telephone Circuits on the N&W ?

nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 19 22:10:41 EDT 2005

To those Listers who have read copiously of the "primary sources" (annual 
reports and old timetables,) I would ask this question...

What is the earliest mention you have found of the use of telephones on the 
N&W?  I'm NOT speaking of commercial telephones in office buildings, but of 
"railroad telephones" which used dedicated lines for communication between 
stations (often called "local battery telephones," as opposed to "Central Office 
battery" telephones) ?

I'm working on some ideas concerning the development of train control 
techniques, and it would be very helpful to have some information about the advent of 
telephone circuits on the N&W.  Of course, before deForest invented the 
vacuum tube in 1906, there were no amplifiers, and the distance that the very low 
voltage signal from a telephone transmitter could be driven along a wire, was 
quite limited.   After the invention of the vacuum tube and the amplifier, 
railroads in general pounced upon the new technology very quickly.

For anyone who has read enough from the original sources to be able to 
respond to this question, my thanks.  

-- abram burnett
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