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A gem of a film from British Telecom that showcases the innovations in telephone switching from the earliest days right up to the most modern exchanges in present day of 1982. This reel was transferred from my own 16mm archive print using my Eiki Telecine. The Eiki projects a 24fps print at 30 frames per second for a flickerless NTSC transfer. A special diffusion plate eliminates the 'hot spot' of the projector, and the sound is pulled right from the optical track.
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13 thoughts on “The telephone exchange 1982”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mark Edis says:

    I worked for BT back in the late 80s early 90s in one of their repair centres. Once system x came in the exchange engineers swapped boards and sent them to us for repair. I then moved to London Payphones replacing the old pay on answer phones for digital ones.
    The switching centre shown in London is Camelford House which is now next to the MI6 Headquarters

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars tvtoms says:

    That's the technology I've ignored because I was busy with something else? Cool!
    The narrator made 1982 feel more like 1962. And to think, Randy Rhoads died that same year.. crazy.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Charles Kinzer says:

    When somebody calls my number accidentally I say the usual "I'm sorry, but you dialed a wrong number". If they are polite enough to stay on the line to say "Oh, I'm sorry." I nonchalantly answer, "Oh. That's OK, I had to get up to answer the telephone anyway." It sounds so normal on the surface that what I said doesn't really register with them immediately, but a moment later after I hang up, it probably does.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars C. Goad says:

    Hi Fran. Another wonderful video – a winner! Ah-h-h….early '80's "modern electronics". What a treat. This video and your previous one – "The Telephone" – complement each other nicely. Thank you.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Randy Carter says:

    By the way it wasn't a bribe. There were 2 (or more) undertakers in the town. The wife of undertaker 1 was the town telephone operator. So when someone calls needing an undertaker she of course connected them to her husband.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Randy Carter says:

    "It's developed with amazing speed." The reason is, it was the killer app of the time. Something so disruptive the helpful everybody wanted it.

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Chris G says:

    A BT film that certainly didn't realise it's own obsolescence and that in December 2025 all Public Switched Telephone (PSTN) and Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN) services will be switched off in the UK. I.e. totally replaced by VOIP and mobile networks.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Dave Diaz says:

    I love these. Working for ma bell today is not like it was. We work on old tech and new tech. The digital telephone switch that I work on DMS 100/200 was installed in 1986. Fun times trying to make this stuff work

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Stratotramp says:

    It's sometimes as if the older mechanisms are smarter. I know this isn't the case. But there is something about physical & tangible complexity. Which an IC doesn't represent. Though I suppose it's out of sight out of mind. All technology is taken forgranted regardless.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Les Allison says:

    What I'd like to know, is in this light speed world we live in, is why has it taken six days for me t get a notification of this video ??? 😉

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Just Steve says:

    That "Modern telephone exchange" at the start was Mondial House in London. It took over as the international switching centre from the Faraday building.
    Faraday still exists, but Mondial was demolished in 2006, my father was an engineer there. I went there with him a few times as a kid.

    It was due to my father that I had a Strowger two motion switch to play with when I was little, and why I have an excess of 50v equipment to this day.

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Mike Ditto says:

    I've studied telephone history for many years but this is the first time I've heard the name Strowger pronounced, and it's not what I expected. Now I'm wondering if the New Yorker/Kansan pronounced it the same way.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars BobC says:

    One of my many tasks on my first Navy ship in 1976 was to help maintain about 200 Strowger switches. Could be difficult to diagnose and repair when failed, and maintenance was tedious, but they were amazingly reliable and robust overall.

    Naval gunfire exercises were a great way to find weaker switches, as they would spontaneously drop calls. We'd have the whole team down there watching every Strowger switch while the exchange was in self-test mode.

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