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A History Lesson on the Yellow Pages

The history of the phone and yellow pages are interconnected and have kept up with the changes we see today in both the way we use the phone as well as how we access information.

Alexander Graham Bell is credited with the invention of the telephone and patented his invention in 1876. It is hard to believe that today that original idea has been transformed into the modern day cell phone which has for the most part replaced the house phone that Bell invented not that long ago.

And of course if you had a phone you had to have a way to keep track of all of those phone numbers. Hence the first telephone book followed shortly afterwards in 1878 and consisted of one sheet of paper with fifty subscribers in the New Haven area. The white pages were thus born and in 1886. Given enough time and phones of course the business side of the telephone grew and the yellow pages followed the white pages.

The first yellow pages in America were published by the Rueben Donnelly Company in Chicago, Illinois in 1886, although the UK lays claim to an even earlier version of the commercial directory in 1880 with 248 individuals and business toting the newfangled phone and the need of course for a booklet to keep up with the growing trend.

The original yellow pages weren’t yellow either, that came about when the publisher ran out of white paper and figured the yellow paper they had in stock would work just as well to publish the phone directory with. And thus the yellow pages were officially born.

Today this commercial directory is a part of everyone’s home and business and we rarely think twice about accessing this guide when we need services. Just as the original phone directory wasn’t limited to the United States, the commercial directory has also managed to go global. You can travel to Japan, Belgium, Ireland, Israel and the Netherlands to name just a few countries and find a yellow phone directory.

Regardless of the language or origin, the directory is consistent in its outlay with businesses listed in alphabetical order in various categories. This guide can point you towards any business in your geographic area from an accountant to yarn store and everything in between.

The directory has traditionally been given out for free to telephone customers by the Bell telephone companyFree Web Content, paid for by the businesses that listed and advertised themselves in its directory guide. As more telephone companies came into existence of course those offering directories expanded to a larger base and reached even more consumers.

As time changed of course more consumers went from house phones to cell phones and the business of phone directories took a followed suit and went with consumers into the World Wide Web. Today the yellow pages are available in several formats including the traditional paper print versions as well as a web page version.

Regardless of how they are accessed the phone directory has remained a stable part of how we seek out information and that doesn’t look like it will change anytime soon even if how we make those phone calls does change.

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