Erna Schneider

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Erna Schneider

Patent No. 3,623,007

“Operator, please could you put me through to 573?”

At the other end of the phone line the operator stuck a kind of plug into number 573 so you could talk to the family with that number. In those days,phones had no dial or keys. In the few houses that had a telephone, you just had to unhook the receiver and say which number you wanted.

Erna Schneider Hoover, historian and philosopher (New Jersey, 1926) worked as a professor at Yale University until she moved to New Jersey with her husband to work at Bell, a well-known telephone company.

In some places, the huge number of calls made it impossible to attend them all at once. In 1965, the company announced its electronic computing project, which was to solve the problem and revolutionize telephone communication. Well, the system was patented by Erna Schneider under patent No. 3,623,007. The company lawyers went to Erna’s house to sign the papers on her patent, because she was on maternity leave after having her second child.