BY KARA KOVALCHIK writing or MentalFloss
When digging through the dark recesses of the office supply cabinet, today’s average office worker might find a 5¼” floppy disk and consider it a relic of the Dark Ages. They’ve probably also never seen a canister-style ashtray in the corridor, or a pegboard bookkeeping system. Here are some other supplies and equipment that are quickly becoming museum pieces.
1. Telephone Switchboard
It may be hard to conceive of today, but once upon a time, even the largest corporations (like General Motors or IBM) had one all-encompassing telephone number. Employees and departments had extension numbers, and all incoming calls were answered by the operator at the main number and then routed accordingly. Most callers didn’t know their party’s extension and would simply ask for the person by name, but no matter how vague (or rude) the request, they were connected promptly and accurately. It required some serious training to work the switchboard; it wasn’t as if anyone could just sit down and start connecting calls. So switchboard operators—who also doubled as receptionists in between calls—were integral to keeping an office running.
2. Telex Machines
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