A Short History of The Yellow Pages

A Short History of The Yellow Pages By BIG Mike McDaniel By BIG Mike McDaniel First was the telephone. Once Alexander Graham Bell got it working, it spread like the southern kudzu vine. In less than two years after the first “Watson, come here I need you” conversation, there were enough telephones for a “central office” and someone to connect and disconnect the callers (1878). The fastest growing of the new Bells was the New Haven Telephone Company (Connecticut) There were enough people “on line” to cause them to publish a little white card with the names of all 50 subscribers. The headings were divided into four sections: residential, professional, miscellaneous and essential service listings. Thus, the first telephone “book”. Early directories only listed names; numbers were not needed because operators made the connections for each caller. In 1886, when Reuben H. Donnelley established the first classified telephone directory advertising, he helped create an entire industry that we know as the Yellow Pages. No one knows for sure how those pages turned yellow. They didn’t start that way. Legend has it the printer ran out of white paper in 1883 and rather than wait weeks for a new shipment, used yellow. Then followed research that showed that black type on yellow paper combination was the easiest to read, other than black on white. For the most part, the Yellow...

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