Visit a time when humans needed help making phone calls

Video from 43 years ago showed the life of a telephone operator

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We often take for granted the technology we're currently using - computers, cell phones, tablets, etc., that we often forget there was a time when these devices didn't exist.

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Even making a telephone call was not as cut-and-dry as it is today - before computers took away most of these functions, people needed telephone operators to help connect calls and provide directory assistance.

The AT&T Archives channel on YouTube has posted a 17-minute video showcasing a film from 1969, entitled "Operator", which showcases the lives of telephone operators from the late '60s.

Several things fascinate me from this era. First, the mechanical nature of connecting calls back then. No computers or monitors are seen - and operators had to look up phone numbers via old-fashioned directories (when was the last time you used your phone book?). Second, I'm fascinated with the headsets these operators were using - many of today's Bluetooth headsets and voice headsets likely originated from these original designs. Finally, it's interesting to view customers' frustrations and attitudes with the operators (a funny moment is someone calling the operator to find out whether it was 6 a.m. or 6 p.m.). If you are interested at all about the history of technology, this video is worth 17 minutes of your time.

Keith Shaw rounds up the best in geek video in his ITworld.tv blog. Follow Keith on Twitter at @shawkeith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.

Watch some more cool videos: Current video game characters battle old-school 8-bit rivals Nokia admits faking phone video Watch a robot turn into a car without Michael Bay's assistance Sherlock Holmes is really good at Blue's Clues Watch this preview of Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out

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