Saturday, December 09, 2017

Before there were smart phones

This is a 1905 advertisement from the Seattle Independent Telephone Directory selling residential telephone service. It's clearly aimed at women, who apparently wore lacey dresses and Easter bonnets when they spoke on the phone back in the old-timey days. If you can't read the print on the ad, this is what they tout:

Advantages of a residence telephone
  • Makes engagements
  • Invites you friends
  • Friends can call you
  • Does your shopping
  • Reserve theatre tickets
  • Orders your groceries
  • And corrects mistakes
  • Calls the plumber
  • Hastens the delivery of goods
  • Saves letter writing
  • Calls your husband
  • Saves time and steps
  • Runs your errands
  • Calls the doctor
  • Calls the fire department
  • Calls the police

I'm guessing the home phone service wasn't really a hard sell to women, but the issue of it was the cost, which husbands might object to. The bullet points seem like a list of talking points she might use to convince him the phone bill was worth it.

Aside from that I find the active voice odd. The telephone "makes engagements" rather than you "make  engagements". Strange that they make the phone the agent of action rather than the person.

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