Almon Brown Strowger was born on October 19, 1839 in upstate New York. Information about his life is sketchy. We know that he took part in the Civil War, then worked as a school teacher. And then became the owner of a funeral home in Kansas City (Missouri). It may be difficult to believe, but this man patented the world's first automatic telephone exchange (PaBX), thereby earning the honorary title of father of all PaBXs.
The impetus for the creation of an automatic telephone switchboard served, according to one version, the following circumstances.
In Kansas City there was the only one manual telephone exchange operator where Strowger's rival's wife worked. Suspecting that she redirected requests to her husband's Company, Strowger decided to permanently protect not only themselves but the whole of society from unscrupulous telephone operators. Following this noble goal, he invented an automatic telephone switchboard 10-step type based on a 10-step line-finder with an automatic switching system which enabled dialing and connecting subscribers without an operator.
Strowger created a working model of the line-finder in 1888, at the age of 49. A patent for the device, which for a long time had been the main component of the PaBX, was obtained in 1891. The Strowger PaBX later became known as the no dames'n'damns telephone. The system allowed you to connect up to 99 subscribers.
To promote the invention to the market in 1892 Strowger founded the Strowger Automatic Exchange (from 1901 it was called the Automatic Electric Co., and later became General Telephone and Electronics). The First automatic system was put into commercial use in 1892 in La Porte (Indiana). It should be noted that the PaBX system built by A. Strowger, proved to be very reliable and worked all over the world right up to the 1970s. In some places they still operate.
Strowger was also the inventor of a dialer as a rotating disk, which is also for a long time widely used in the manufacture of telephones. Initially the desired subscriber was selected by a set of combinations of three buttons. Later, various improvements were made, including the establishment of the prototype rotary dial (1897). In the Strowger rotary dial phone there were no openings, but there were recesses like big teeth of a gear-wheel. The Company has repeatedly represented Strowger's advanced telephone models: in 1901 - the desktop machine with rotary dial; 1902 - a device with rotary dialling with holes; in 1905 - a phone with holes, occupying most of the perimeter of the disc. The latest model was released in 1907.
In the invention of the switch, A. Strowger was not a pioneer. Such a device was created in 1879 by American engineers Connolly and McTighe. But it was the enthusiasm and perseverance of Strowger what contributed to the wider application of the automatic switch.
He sold his patents to an American businessman and inventor and a stake in the company for $10,000.
Almon Brown Strowger died in 1902, aged 62, in St. Petersburg (Florida, USA).