(Not single-page) Nothing irritated phone company executives more than the use of the word “hello” in initial telephone conversation. In 1910, Bell’s Telephone Engineer magazine sponsored a contest for the best essay on proper telephone etiquette. AT&T had the prize article distributed to telephone directories. Here’s what it said about the h-word: “Would you rush into an office or up to the door of a residence and blurt out ‘Hello! Hello! Who am I talking to?’ No, one should open conversations with phrases such as ‘Mr. Wood, of Curtis and Sons, wishes to talk with Mr. White…’ without any unnecessary and undignified ‘Hellos.” No aspect of telephone use escaped the interest of AT&T’s etiquette police. “Speak directly into the mouthpiece,” explained a California franchise’s instruction manual, “keeping mustache out of the opening.”
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