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Telephone switchboard Rifferswil

A STR Rotary 7D3 telephone exchange

In c. 1952, PTT began to plan for the construction of a telephone exchange in Rifferswil. The building was completed in the summer of 1955. The one-storey solid construction is a typical example of 1950s post-war architecture and is reminiscent of a small single-family home from the period: modest, inconspicuous and a little staid. The STR Rotary 7D3 electromechanical rural exchange had 600 subscriber connections for Rifferswil and its surrounding area. The building had a foyer, a room for the dialler, a second room for the electricity supply and a WC. The exchange was operational from 1955 to 1984. Today it is still fully intact but disconnected from the telephone network.


Historical telephone switchboards

The Museum of Communication in Bern has four historical switchboards. The electromechanical telecommunications devices were manufactured in Switzerland by the companies Hasler, Siemens and Standard Telephon & Radio AG (STR). The technology that has survived in situ is therefore part of Swiss industrial culture.

Switchboards such as these would have used dials or telephone keyboards to switch the numbers dialled. Electromechanical boards were introduced in the 1920s, whilst today everything is done digitally. Switchboards are points of intersection in the telephone network. It is where telephone communication is directed. Manual switchboards and telephone operators were eventually replaced by automatic telephone exchanges.