Towne’s History of Telephone Technology

As technology advanced, we were able to take advantage of most of it and provide a better service…… that is, of course, if you really wanted us to reach you!

Answering machines were first presented in the US in 1960 but did not become an affordable option until a decade later. In 1971, the first commercially viable answering machine was introduced. It weighed 10 pounds and could hold 20 messages on a reel-to-reel tape! (Wow!!!  20?!?!?!)  Prices dropped throughout the 70’s and by the end of that decade, most households that desired to own an answering machine had purchased one.

Technology marches on…In 1979 the first voice mail was patented and in 1983 a digital telephone answering machine was invented. The advent of these new technologies began to revolutionize our lives!

During this same period of time there was much happening in the world of computers and the first consumer personal computers became available. Of course they were nothing like the PC’s of today and so they were generally ignored. In 1983 Apple lead the charge with the first home PC with a graphical interface and, in 1984, Microsoft presented Windows. At last PC’s were becoming more affordable and usable for small business and home use.

In 1982 the breakup of the Bell System was mandated by the US government. For those of you that were around at that time…remember the confusion? Gone were the days of one phone call to place an order for phone service or repair. Telephone life as we knew it was over! Confusion reigned…which company sells equipment and who do I call to get local phone service? And I have to pick a long distance company? Phone companies started and failed and the consumer was sometimes left with no service at all.

Towne was transitioning towards computer-driven technology and paperless messaging but there were challenges to be met in order to meet that goal. Much of our staff had little need for typing skills up to this point and so we began the process of instituting an on-site typing program and the skill development began! We purchased our first computerized answering software and commenced migrating clients over. Our office was a bit crazy……answering some calls on the old switchboards and some calls assisted by a computer screen for information. Regardless of how we answered, we were still writing every single message on paper!!

Technology marches on……..

Deb Crown

Deb Crown

About Deb Crown

Towne Answering Service was established in 1968 to provide answering services for medical and commercial clients in the southeastern Pennsylvania area. Utilizing the best technology available at the time (the time was 1968 and the technology was a switchboard), Towne was able to establish a very faithful clientele, the majority of whom are still with us today. As time passed and technology advanced, so did the equipment. The answering service equipment evolved from switchboards to a basic computerized system with handwritten messages. From that, we were able to move to a fully computerized, paperless, state-of-the-art messaging system with digital lines and switching and were able to partner with our clients and provide a higher level of service.