An Old Telephone Directory


An Old Telephone Directory


In the Dorris Museum at Eastern Kentucky University is an 1895 directory of the Richmond Telephone Co. All 94 subscribers were listed on one side of the 8 1/2 by 11 inch piece of heavy paper, with room leftover for instructions for operating a telephone and the rules of the company.

When one wished to make a telephone call he first gave a short ring to the operator by turning the crank on his local battery magneto telephone. He then was to give the number of the person he wished to speak to; but apparently in those days a lot of Richmond people wanted to call by name rather than by number. This meant that the operators had to memorize the names and the associated numbers. After the call was completed, the subscriber who initiated the call was to give a short ring to signal the operator that they were finished.

Many of the names listed on this directory will bring back memories for the older Richmond resident. The number 1 was the W.S. Hume Co. at Silver Creek; number 2 was the Pattie A. Clay Infirmary. The W.S. Jones Saloon had number 3. Grocers who had telephones included H.E. Allen; Allman and Harris; T.B. Collins; Covington, Arnold and Brother; N.B. Deatherage; M.N. Driggers; J.D. Dykes and Farley Brothers. The number of Joe Giunchigliani, who for many years operated a delicatessen on the northwest corner of Third and Main, was 58. Drug stores with telephones were operated by T.S. Hagan, B.L. Middleton, W.F. Powers and Dr. W.G. White. Public officials who had telephones were sheriff J.P. Simmons and S.H. Thorpe, the circuit court clerk. The fire department was number 13.

Rules for subscribers included limiting calls to three minutes and the avoidance of improper language. The exchange closed at 8:30 p.m. and nobody was to ring the night operator and awaken her unless it was an emergency.

If anyone in Madison County has another old telephone directory for Richmond or some other town in the county we certainly would like to hear from him. (Contact the writer).


Dr. Robert Grise




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Dr. Robert Grise, “An Old Telephone Directory,” Madison's Heritage Online, accessed September 19, 2018,