The Party Line

The Party Line – circa 1918

The magazine, “Successful Farming” was first printed in 1902, at a time when only 8% of US households had a telephone.

By 1918, when this cover appeared, telephones had become so common that subscribers would understand the humor of this illustration.

“Successful Farming” was the first publishing enterprise of Edwin T. Meredith of Des Moines.

Meredith launched “Better Homes and Gardens” in the 1920’s, and his company completed the purchase of Time, Inc. in 2018.

“Successful Farming” is still published.

In 2002, there were only 5000 party lines billed in the US and many of these had only one subscriber.

One wonders what neighborhood news the old gent was overhearing on the party line.


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