World's first phonebook brings $170K at auction

Written By Lingkar Dunia on Saturday, October 24, 2009 | 1:07 PM

The world's first phone book has made history for the second time, having fetched $170,000 at auction. The twenty-page directory was published in November 1878, just two years after Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. It listed 391 subscribers in New Haven, Connecticut.

'Should you wish to speak to another subscriber you should commence the conversation by saying, "Hulloa!",' it instructed the novice chatter. To make it easier to be heard, the speaker should be sure to leave the "lower lip and jaw free." In a ruling I wish was adopted by cellphone companies with subscribers who think long train or bus journeys are a chance to catch up (loudly) with all their mates, the user was commanded never to "use the wire more than three minutes at a time, or more than twice an hour," without first "obtaining permission from the main office."

To see the lively bidding, watch this.


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