Thursday, August 21, 2008

Only 12 phone lines ordered for Denver convention

WE'VE MOVED! Democratic Convention Watch is now at

In 1908, that is:

From a technology perspective, the upcoming convention in the Mile High City bears little resemblance to the 1908 convention - when only 12 special telephone lines were installed to accommodate the event and enable national news bulletins.
In 1908, when Denver was tapped to host the DNC, the Colorado Telephone Company relied on its new state-of-the-art technology to keep the public informed about the convention proceedings within minutes of when they happened.

Using a PBX (private branch exchange) telephone system, six special service telephones, six telephone booths, six specially trained telephone operators, two long distance lines, telegraphs and Morse code, the phone company was able to transmit news bulletins to pre-selected customers like local newspaper editors and political leaders from the 1908 convention.

Pages at the convention were trained to recognize delegates and distinguished guests by sight. When delegates and guests received calls, the attendants would immediately find them on the floor and escort them to the phones.

Democratic nominee William Jennings Bryan didn't even attend the convention in 1908. Using a megaphone rigged with a telephone transmitter so that the megaphone would work "in reverse," Bryan listened to the crowd signal its approval of his nomination from his home library in Lincoln, Nebraska, via a special long-distance telephone connection to the convention floor.
Lets all remember that when we hear complaints about no wireless LAN at the convention.