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Words nearby switchboard
What is a switchboard?
A switchboard is a device used to connect telephone calls.
Switchboards, which are now largely obsolete, consisted of a board of circuits and switches that needed to be manually adjusted for calls to be connected. The person who operated this kind of switchboard was called an operator or a switchboard operator.
Switchboards were used in telephone exchanges as well as places that had their own internal phone systems, such as offices and hotels.
In all of these settings, switchboards have been largely replaced with more advanced technology that does not require the manual connection of circuits. However, some devices might still be referred to as switchboards because they perform the same functions, just in automated ways.
Sometimes, the word switchboard was used as a way of referring to the place or people who operated the switchboard, as in Call the switchboard and have them connect you. It can still be used in this way even though such switchboards are no longer in common use.
The word switchboard can also refer to the control panel used to control lighting, such as on a stage or in an auditorium. This can also be called a lightboard.
It can also refer to an electrical device used to control the power supply in a building.
Example: My grandmother always tells me stories about how she worked as an operator and routed calls all over the world using the switchboard.
Where does switchboard come from?
The first records of the word switchboard come from the 1870s in the U.S. It is simply a compound word composed of the words switch and board.
Switchboards consisted of circuits and switches that needed to be manually changed and switched to different positions on the board based on how the call needed to be routed.
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How is switchboard used in real life?
Switchboards are largely obsolete in telecommunications but the word is still sometimes used to refer to modern devices.
It's fascinating to think that before digital communication, switchboard operators had to manually connect phone lines to get your call through. Here is Harry Winn working at the Gibsons Telephone Exchange, 1947. Notice the "Baby Fund" jar on the table in the bottem right. pic.twitter.com/Yv93YRCoHc
— SunshineCoastMuseum (@SCM_A) September 12, 2018
We're currently receiving a high volume of applications for the Additional Restrictions Grant. When making an application, please bear in mind it can take up to 4 weeks to process. Please don't call our main switchboard to check progress. We'll get back to you as soon as we can. pic.twitter.com/LMIHTmhRe3
— Dacorum Council (@DacorumBC) January 21, 2021
jobs that would suit me perfectly that no longer really exist: typist, switchboard operator, movie theater projectionist and travel agent
— katrina (@whitstillmanfan) February 2, 2021
Try using switchboard!
Is switchboard used correctly in the following sentence?
When I called the department store, the switchboard operator asked which department I needed to be connected to.
Example sentences from the Web for switchboard
Hundreds of calls jammed the switchboard at the hospital where she works, many hinting at physical violence against her, and accusing her of working for Big Pharma.The Vaccine Champions in France Defying Death Threats to Convert Anti-Vaxxers|Vivienne Walt|February 17, 2021|Time
There's even some of those crazy vertical switchboard doodads.
Then Abdullah called for one of his private secretaries to hand over his name and an all-hours royal-switchboard telephone number.
There was a small thing which looked like the switchboard of a telegraph office.Pharaoh's Broker|Ellsworth Douglass
The great window of the pilot room disclosed the pilot seats and the great switchboard to one side.Islands of Space|John W Campbell
As his watch told him that Tom must be nearing the bottom he seated himself by the switchboard, headphones clamped over his ears.Tom Swift and His Giant Telescope|Victor Appleton
The huge cables that brought the electric current to the switchboard lay molten on the floor.The Whispering Spheres|Russell Robert Winterbotham
It was his impression, the switchboard operator's impression that it was some long distance.Warren Commission (7 of 26): Hearings Vol. VII (of 15)|The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy