New York Telephone Company Ad

This ad appeared in the Sunday Times just a few weeks after the Magazine ran an article explaining how the telephone system works. That article, from December 4, quoted a recent telephone census that said New York had 310,000 phones. This ad shows that figure dates back to 1908.

The ad claims that the usefulness of your telephone service is measured by the number of people with whom it enables you to talk, and the class of people it reaches. What exactly were they trying to say? Was there a tiered phone service system in 1910, where lower class people had an inferior service that only allowed them to talk to each other?

New York Telephone Company ad (PDF)

From January 8, 1911

One response to “New York Telephone Company Ad”

  1. Eh…you’re being a bit classist with the comment about “the class of people it reaches.” Back in 1910, only rich people (and businesses) had phones since they were so expensive, which means that the target market for phones was generally affluent. (note that there was 1 phone per 10 people in NYC and a bunch of those phones probably belonged to big businesses like banks, brokerages, Western Union, etc).

    This is no different than saying “Advertise in the Robb Report and reach a higher class of customers”


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