Cranks My Tractor

Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 09:20 AM.

What did we do before we had the feature on our telephones that allows us to switch over to pick up another call?  We got a busy signal.  Those were the good old days I suppose.

“Call Waiting” is one of those features that you are doomed if you do and doomed if you don’t use it. The person you are talking to will more than likely be annoyed when you say, “Hang on a minute, I have to answer this call.”  The person calling in might think you are just not answering the phone because they get a ringing sound, rather than a busy signal.

Maybe things were easier with a party line when you could all talk together.  Older folks still remember party lines where phone customers were sharing phone service lines.  In other words folks had the same line.  The way you knew the call was for you was by the pattern of the ring.

However, if it wasn’t for you, you could still listen in.  I’m not going to get into the possibility that we still do have “party lines.”

The Call Waiting feature, along with Caller ID, the portable fax machine, touch tone telephones, solar cells and fiber optic cables are attributable to important research of an African-American woman.  This lady, Dr. Shirley Jackson was the first African-American woman to earn her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

I’m a scientist and I just found that out.  Dr. Jackson, who is now in her late 60’s, is the President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, another university known for its excellence in science and engineering.

Now I know… It is interesting to me that an African-American woman invented call waiting.

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