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A 19th Century Telephone Network Covered Stockholm in Thousands of Phone Lines

Tower 1

The Swedish are often lauded for their superior design aesthetics, which is why this period in late 19th century sticks out as sorely as comic sans in a design snob’s typeface collection. Colossal has a piece on the strange era when Stockholm, Sweden was tangled in a web of telephone wires and the complications that followed:

In Stockholm, Sweden, the central telephone exchange was the Telefontornet, a giant tower designed around 1890 that connected some 5,000 lines which sprawled in every direction across the city. Just by looking at historical photos it’s easy to recognize the absurdity and danger of the whole endeavor, especially during the winter months. Everything that could possibly go wrong did. From high winds to ice storms and fires, the network was extremely vulnerable to the elements. Luckily, phone networks evolved so rapidly that by 1913 the Telefontornet was completely decommissioned in favor of much simpler technology. The remaining shell stood as a landmark until it too caught fire in 1953 and was torn down.

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1 Comment

  1. An additional detail… All 11000 wires were, of course, completely bare and uninsulated iron…

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