The history of Telecommunications Technology
This exhibition in the House from Ahlbach, which features a telephone exchange, is unique today. But well into the first half of the 20th century, such facilities were a common sight in Germany. The exchange on display employs the first fully automatic uniform local code dialling system which Deutsche Reichspost (German Mail) had produced in series from 1922 on. The facility was installed in 1924 and only retired in 1994. It was designed for up to 100 connections, twenty of which are ready for operation, five connected to phones. Our volunteers are happy to show you how the facility works – and you can have a go at it yourself, using historic telephones.
In addition, the volunteers can tell you about the history of telecommunications and will explain the technology of the two-motion selector Strowger switch, a revolutionary invention at the time. As in telecommunications, in postal services, there were standardised systems. The post office counter is from 1915, one of the first generation of post offices, and at a capacity of 1,000 inhabitants served, this represents the smallest size of post office.
The top floor gives an insight into 200 years of transmitting messages: from optical to electronic telegraphy, from the telephone to the digital revolution. People are always at the heart of the exhibition, which investigates the question how the Morse lever, the telex machine and their like influenced the working conditions, everyday communications and life in general in the country. In this investigation, sequences of historic films and the ticking noises of the functioning telex machines breathe life into the history of communications technology.
At times the counter is staffed by a postal officer – then you can buy stamps and postcards, and post your mail there and then. It will then bear the stamp of the Open Air Museum.