In Rural America, Some People Turned Their Wire Fences Into Phone Lines (Cool Weird Awesome 758)

Today in 1900 a newspaper in Ohio ran a story about how three towns in Indiana had used fence wire as makeshift telephone lines, at a time when phones were more often found in cities. Some of these ingenious systems ran for decades.

By |2022-04-19T06:49:34-04:00April 19, 2022|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , |

The Undertaker Who Developed Automatic Phone Dialing (Cool Weird Awesome 648)

Today in 1892 a phone system that made automated calls - no switchboard operator - began operating in Laporte, Indiana. The first automatic dial network happened, as the story goes, because of a business dispute between two undertakers. Plus: today in 1882, the birthday of John Baxter Taylor, Jr, the first Black American to win an Olympic gold medal.

The Guy Who Traded A Paper Clip And Ended Up With A House (Cool Weird Awesome 573)

This week in 2005, Kyle MacDonald of Montreal had a red paperclip. This week in 2006, MacDonald had traded away the paperclip, and, after a few more trades, ended up with a house. Plus: over in the UK, some small towns have traded out the phones in some of their big red phone boxes for a new use. 

By |2021-07-14T08:47:43-04:00July 14, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , |

When Maasai Herders Call The Wrong Number, They May End Up Making A New Friend (Cool Weird Awesome 566)

When most of us get wrong number phone calls, we get off the line pretty quickly. But new research finds Maasai herders in Tanzania often strike up a conversation, and get to know the person who accidentally called them. Plus: on this day in 1294, the cardinals of the Catholic Church respond to a letter from a hermit monk in a way that may have made the monk wish he hadn't written them at all. 

By |2021-07-05T09:29:52-04:00July 5, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , |

In This Town, The Pay Phones Are Going To Ring At The Same Time, For Art (Cool Weird Awesome 500)

It's our 500th episode! We're celebrating with a visit to the Compass Festival in Leeds, which will feature an art installation that will ring many of the community's pay phones at exactly the same time. Plus: did you know the first race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway wasn't a road race?

By |2021-03-19T07:50:45-04:00March 19, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , , , , |

39 Years After Making The First Phone Call, Alexander Graham Bell Joined A Transcontinental Conference Call (Cool Weird Awesome 466)

Today's an interesting anniversary for those of us doing virtual meetings, parties and play dates: the anniversary of the first transcontinental conference call, starting at the Panama-Pacific International Exhibition in San Francisco and calling a very special guest in New York. Plus: a restaurant in Montreal is winning fans for a menu which weighs the pros and cons of the restaurant's own dishes.

By |2021-11-03T06:55:25-04:00January 25, 2021|Categories: Cool Weird Awesome, Podcasts|Tags: , , |
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