Monday, June 2, 2014

Did you know???

Did you know the origins of the saying 'just between you, me and the fence post'?  I didn't, not until I read an article in, of all places, the electric co-op monthly magazine. And I found it fascinating.

Alexander Graham Bell's patents for the telephone expired in 1894 and suddenly independent phone companies were popping up like fleas in an empty apartment, (If you've ever moved into a place that was vacated by pet-owners a few weeks before you know exactly what I'm talking about!) more than 6000 of them by the first few years of the 1900's. Only they were all focused on the towns and cities where infrastructure costs, namely stringing and maintaining wire, could be easily recouped because of the high volume of potential customers, leaving rural residents ring-less.

 That is, until Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck & Co. started selling phones by mail through their catalogs. Seems that someone took note of the miles and miles of barbed wire fencing through the Midwest and designed a phone with an alligator clamp that you clipped to the top wire of your fence. As long as your top wire was touching the top wire of your neighbor and his was touching his neighbor's and so on, you had a phone system!

Of course this was all one big party line so when one gossip leaned close to the handset and told another, 'just between you, me and the fencepost', there were a lot of fence posts out there listening in!!

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