1991 >> April >> Brookfield Goes To War Update  

"Brookfield Goes To War" Update

Reprinted from "Crown Jewels of the Wire", April 1991, page 3

Regarding Larry Larned's fine story, "Brookfield Goes to War, " in the August '90 issue, we would just like to add that "Circuits of Victory", by A.L. Lavine, Country Life Press, 1921, is another must book for anyone wishing to pursue this subject further. The story also deals with the Bell System's family of men and women who made up the twenty-five Bell Battalions and of the vast task they took on. Yes, I did say, women, for a great many bilingual telephone operators volunteered for military service in France, a first! Included in those volunteers, both men and women, were a number of individuals from the independent telephone companies in America. This is another story that needs to be told.

Incidentally, this was not the first time America's telephone industry assisted France. In 1908, the Paris telephone exchange burned and wasn't expected to be restored for four or five months. An agent of Western Electric, Bell's manufacturing arm, offered to have the new one-hundred and eight foot, ninety position switchboard in and working within sixty days or pay six-hundred dollars in penalties for each day's delay. The board was manufactured in Chicago and shipped to France in thirty-six days and in full service in the allotted sixty days.

Vic Sumner, Grand Terrace, CA

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