Terry Orwell for Art-Sheep
When the telephone was patented in the late 19th century the immediate reaction was to connect as many people as possible to the phone grid. But the technical limitations of the 19th century required that every telephone needed its own line that hung between a home or an office to the phone exchange where a live operator manually connected the phone call. This idealistic effort of connecting everybody to everybody resulted in the building of intricate and not pretty at all towers which carried through tithe air an immense amount of phone lines.
In Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, Telefontornet was the main telephone exchange. It was an enormous tower designed c.1890 and it connected about 5,000 lines which literally spread across the entire city and in every direction. This was, of course, a ridiculous and hazardous effort and the pictures below can certainly make us understand why. Especially during the winter, thing could go seriously wrong, and as expected, things did go seriously wrong. This network was extremely vulnerable to the elements of nature such as ice storms, fires and strong winds. Fortunately, technology made leaps of evolution and by 1913 the Telefontornet was dropped for much simpler -and less dangerous- technology. The tower was a landmark of Stockholm until it caught fire in 1953 and was demolished.