What is the conspiracy behind Strowgers Invention?
Almon Strowger was working as an undertaker in Kansas City, Missouri, when he conceived his design for an automatic telephone. Reports on how the invention came to be vary, but Ronald Strowger, one of Almon Strowger’s relatives, repeated the most common story in a telephone interview from his home in Oregon. Almon Strowger became upset when business began to decline suddenly, Ronald Strowger said. At the same time, he discovered that a friend had died and he had not been called about the funeral services. He attributed the problem to a telephone operator who was romantically involved with a rival undertaker. Strowger reportedly became angry, believing that the woman was diverting Strowger’s calls to the rival. He responded by creating a device which would allow telephone users to place calls directly, without the need for operators.
That was not the first time Almon Strowger had become frustrated with the workings of his telephone. According to our research, Strowger had repeated problems with his phone service and complained regularly to the telephone company. After several attempts to repair the problem failed, he insisted that the assistant general manager of the telephone company, Herman W. Ritterhoff, attend to the problem personally. Ritterhoff determined that a sign hanging over Strowger’s telephone wires was interfering with the proper operation of the lines. Once the sign was removed, Strowger’s telephone worked again.