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Historic Hallowell

Communication

Hallowell Cotton Mill, Academy Street, ca. 1885
Hallowell Cotton Mill, Academy Street, ca. 1885

Item Contributed by
Hubbard Free Library

According to Sumner Webber, local historian, “People in the first half of the 1800’s communicated mostly by mail. Next in the later half of the 1800’s, they communicated by telegraph.” People first started using telephones in the 1880’s and the first telephone exchange was in Augusta. Telephones were quite pricey back when they were invented, that is why most people did not have them. Not that many people used the telephone in the late 1880’s, but they became more popular in the 1950’s.

There was a company in a rented space in the Cotton Mill called O’Brien Electrophone, which came to Hallowell in the year of 1905. The president of the company was C.H. O’Brien, hence the name of the company. The electrophone was an electronic piece of equipment that was used to produce sound. It was the first system of electronic broadcasting as well. O’Brien’s company produced some of the first electric horns for automobiles. They thought that the invention would work well, so they took it to an automobile show in New York in the early 1900‘s. Unfortunately, not many people were interested in the product.