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Telephone Shopper
Telephone Shopper
TitleTelephone Shopper
DescriptionPostcard promoting Bell Telephone Company depicting a telephone shopper
Historical ArticleThe first small telephone system in Kansas City was started in 1883, but few people here had telephones at the turn of the century.

Then two telephone companies, the Home and the Bell systems, were organized in Kansas City. The older system, the Bell company, boasted of four miles of conduit and had 20,000 subscribers in 1908. The Home company, which furnished 30 free telephones to city hall as part of its franchise, had about the same number. Business houses usually had both systems, but there was much confusion as to telephone numbers, and distinguishing between the bells was difficult. The companies merged in 1919 to form the Kansas City telephone company, which became Southwestern Bell three years later. It now serves about 730,000 telephones in Greater Kansas City.

Promotional post cards such as that shown were circulated to prospective users in the early years. This card, titled Into the Heart of the Shopping District by Bell Telephone, represents a typical city shopping area of the time. Another of the series, called A Doctor Quick, shows distraught relatives at a sick bed, with a white-capped nurse frantically talking on an upright table phone to the doctor at his office.

Kansas City Star
April 27, 1968
AuthorRay, Mrs. Sam (Mildred)
Item TypePostcard
CollectionMrs. Sam Ray Postcard Collection (SC58)
See finding aid: http://localhistory.kclibrary.org/u?/Local,36981
Local SubjectAdvertisements
Digital FormatJPEG
RepositoryMissouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri
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