Drawing on the rich and unexplored Bell Canada archives in Montreal, Martin analyses the development of the telephone system in Canada, particularly in Ontario and Quebec, from 1878 to 1920. Bell Telephone originally envisaged the telephone as a business tool for a relatively small group of male professionals. The women who worked as operators -- an occupation which rapidly became a female ghetto -- played a key role in mediating the demands of telephone users and the limitations of the new technology. The many women who began to use the telephone for domestic, two-way communication eventually forced Bell Telephone to change its approach and ultimately transformed the telephone's social impact.
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