TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Dial Conversion - Depression Labor Force

Re: Dial Conversion - Depression Labor Force
19 Aug 2006 12:10:53 -0700

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in response to

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Actually, the 'Great Depression' is
> normally dated as the last three months of 1929, along with 1930-33.
> I do not think Bell did any central office conversions during that
> time period, or very few of them. Chicago did not start converting
> until 1939, after the depression, when our country was well on the
> way toward recovery (which generally means a war is going on). Many
> of the conversions occurred in the late 1940's and throughout the
> 1950's, and as we know, those were much better times financially for
> almost everyone. PAT]

Generally, the Depression is started by be the fall of 1929 until about
1939-40. Although the big stock market crash is generally accepted to
the be the start, for some people hard times started much earlier and
later for others. Hard times continued until to about 1940 when
defense spending perked up. There was some natural economic growth in
1939. There was a slight recovery in 1936-7, but then FDR cut the
budget back and the economy fell down again.

I believe Newark NJ was a major dial conversion around 1930 as was
remaining manual exchanges within New York City and its immediate
developed suburbs (ie Yonkers).

No 1 crossbar came out and was implemented in the 1930s.

Long distance systems continued to be modernized with improved
repeaters and carrier systems. "AB" dialing for operators and other
processes streamlined the process.

While work at Bell obviously slowed down since so little revenue was
coming in (the stock dividends were paid out of past surplus), it
didn't stop.

Someone else mentioned 25% unemployment even in 1941. That is too
high. 20-%25% was about the worst the country had (except in some
especially hard hit areas like the Dust Bowl), but other places
weren't quite as hard hit. By 1939 it was down to about 15%. That's
still very high but not quite as bad. It varied quite a bit by region
and industry. There were some nasty strikes in the late 1930s that
pushed up wages which allowed workers to have more money than mere

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