< Browse to Previous Essay | Browse to Next Essay >
Western Union demonstrates telephone to Seattle in 1878.
HistoryLink.org Essay 229
: Printer-Friendly Format
During 1878, the Western Union Telegraph Company demonstrates the first telephone in Seattle. The telephone line runs eight miles from Pioneer Square in Seattle to Milton (renamed West Seattle).
The demonstrator "told Seattle to go ahead and talk. And Seattle talked! Leading citizens gathered around; Colonel C. H. Larabee sang 'Suwanee River' here and every word of it was heard across the bay. The telephone was a success ..."(Sayre).
This was Seattle's first real telephone. A previous telephone was tried two months earlier, but it did not quite come up to par. Sayre writes:
"Seattle's first telephone ... was a strange affair. Down in Occidental Square ... two tin cups were connected by a silk thread forty feet long. Many of the words spoken back and forth could scarcely be heard, but everyone decided that the line had 'worked.' "
Thomas Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle from 1850 to 1897" (Typescript, dated 1900-1901, Special Collections, University of Washington Library), 251; J. W. Sayre, This City of Ours, (Seattle: Seattle School District No. 1, 1936), 114.
Travel through time (chronological order):
< Browse to Previous Essay
Browse to Next Essay >
Science & Technology |
Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that
encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both
HistoryLink.org and to the author, and sources must be included with any
reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this
Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For
more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact
the source noted in the image credit.
Major Support for HistoryLink.org Provided
By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins
| Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry
| 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle
| City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach
Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private
Sponsors and Visitors Like You