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Ed Hanson


Posted By: Cindy Bray Lovell (email)
Date: 3/10/2007 at 02:20:06

Ed Hanson of Independence, an old timer in the telephone business, but not an old timer physically, has strung many miles of wire, hooked up hundreds of telephones and has seen many changes in the industry since his early days in the business.

Little did he know, when he started with the Bell Telephone company in 1927, that in 1955 he would be hooking up telephones which did not require the user to pick up the receiver. A telephone with which the housewife could go about the room doing her work and still carry on a conversation with her neighbor blocks away.

Nevertheless, after 28 years in the business, he is now installing such modern conveniences . . . not in the homes as yet . . . but in business offices, and probably someday in homes. The new telephone, looks about like the everyday' desk phone, except that it has three push buttons and a small microphone I about the size of a quarter. Also hooked up to the telephone, there is a small receiver, about the size of a double deck of cards. By pushing the "on" button the user can walk away from their phone, give the operator the number without lifting the receiver and then carry on a normal conversation with the party at the other end of the line. There is also a volume control button that can be adjusted to bring the other party's voice in loud and clear. When the conversation is completed, all the user need do is walk over, push the "off" button, and walk away, without ever taking the ordinary receiver off the cradle.

Ed started in the telephone' business on Aug. 18, 1927 at Waukon. On August 4 this year, he reached his sixtieth birthday and retirement age, but he feels he is too young to retire and so will continue stringing wire and installing phones.

Born on August 4, 1895 at Waterville, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Harold Hanson, he married Jessie Cole of Waterville on March 31, 1915. They moved to Waukon in 1927 and from there to Independence on Oct. 24, 1928 where he began work with the Independence office of the Bell Telephone Co.

When he came to Independence, he worked as the only combination man here, doing every variety of work connected with the telephone company. He worked in this capacity until about eight-years ago when a second man was hired to help with "the increasing work In 1928, when he came to Independence, there were 1,154 telephones in use and 15 operators working on the switchboard. Now there are more than 2,000 phones out of the Independence office and 25 operators handling the calls.

Ed has worked under four managers and one wire chief since coming to Independence. The wire chief in 1928" was Don Baitch, and the managers in order were: Walter Steeve, Harold Shoemaker, Jim Davis and the present manager, Ray Carlson.

Ed's mother, who was 99 years of age on August 2, now lives with her daughter in Waterville. She made her home with Ed and his family for many years until about eight years ago. The Hansons have three Sons, one daughter and five grandchildren. They are: Dwayne, Robert and Mrs. Judd Bantz, all of- Independence, and Ralph of Clinton. One son, Leroy, is deceased. Ed also has three sisters and two brothers living. They are: Mrs. S. Halverson, Waterloo; Mrs. Hanna Suram, Mrs. Henry Jenson, Otto Hanson and Albert Hanson, all of Waterville.

He is a member of the Immanuel Lutheran church in Independence. The only club he belongs to is the Buchanan county Wildlife club. He has always been an ardent fisherman, hunter, and interested in sports of all kinds. Naturally, after 60 years, a person's movements become slightly slower. But Ed can still put on a pair of spikes" and" climb a pole with the best of them.

source: Bulletin Journal; Independence, Buchanan co., Iowa; September 9, 1955
transcribed by Cindy Bray Lovell


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