In the sunset years of open wire telecommunications . . .

This Website’s Mission

This is the “front porch” website on open wire telecom technology.  We combine both the technological logic of open wire technology with the romance of social history and its subsequent impact upon American life.  Song of the Open Wire strives to:

  • Educate lay people who may be insulator, phone artifact or switching system collectors; to illuminate and compliment collections with technical and cultural information for further appreciation of their avocations;
  • Contribute information to current career communications professionals, having never lived during a time when the countryside was a virtual forest of open wire lines and poles, and eagerly wishing to learn more about open wire’s contributions;
  • Social historians, to enhance their comprehension of the evolution of science and technology’s impact on the social order;
  • To encourage photographers’ attention to these lines in order to document the final episode in this remarkable American communications epoch;
  • Promote interests in present-day communication technology for young people seeking careers, exploring a new avocation or those investigating an entrepreneurial opportunity;
  • Communicate the mission of administrators, membership and visitors of American communications museums to further exhibit features of this phenomenon within their venues and further its preservation;
  • Deliver quality general technical information on equipment manufacturers, current and past, demonstrative of the open wire era;
  • Highlight open wire’s contributions to this nation’s economic growth, literacy and social stability;
  • Bridge the gap between the Independent Telcos, Regional Bell Operating Companies and Transportation Companies’ shared experiences of its employees;
  • Involvement in motion pictures, television and theatre, where open wire may play a part of the “period” environment, streetscape aspect or surround a historical event;
  • Endorse the missions of the Independent Telephone Pioneers of America and the Telephone Pioneers; and, finally,
  • Celebrate the people who participated in this grand adventure that was the epoch . . . of open wire . . .

The equipment portrayed in many specific photograph examples comprises part of the extensive collection of The Electric Orphanage, unless otherwise noted.

One further note about how the title of this website came to be: I’ve been asked if the “song” aspect related to the famous painting of an Indian placing his ear next to a telegraph pole in the nineteenth century and listening for the “song” or vibration in the wires?

No, this was not the case.  This moniker “Song” was independently derived of this inference, resulting from those long ago days when as an eight year old, I’d imagine myself above those ten horizontally strung  exchange wires, and strumming those horizontal strings, with a pick and a thumb, gently harmonizing, or “singing” their resonance between spans.

The concept stuck.  Those formative years of the early 1960s, became pleasant memories, and this poetic notion remained in my head until it was reawakened with this website.

Douglas G. Schema, Webmaster

837 N. W. Harrison Street, Topeka, Kansas 66608-1473 + 785-969-0205 +