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Bill Carr, who started with Fidelity in 1949, remembers the days of electromechanical switching when you hand-cranked your magneto phone to call your neighbor or an operator.
“I was there during the cranking days when you had several parties on the line,” he laughed. “Back then it was an open wire, single pair that went from Sullivan to Spring Bluff with 16 parties on the line. And when you cranked the phone, you were calling all of them.”
One of his greatest memories was when the new digital switch was delivered in 1987, ending the electromechanical age at Fidelity. “It came in on a truck,” he recalled. “We got ready to set it up, opened it up and the thing was soaking wet. So we dried it all up, put it into service and it worked fine. I was a switchman when they had the old mechanical switch, so when we put the digital switch in, that was a huge change.”
Another big turning point was the move to fiber optic from copper wire in the late 1980s and early 1990s. “That was a grand day when we completed that,” Carr said. The new fiber ring ran from Sullivan to Spring Bluff, past Champion City into Gerald and down Highway 28 to Owensville. He remembered several employees who were involved in the project, including Roy Bandy, Slim Sumner, Mark Head and Roger Johanning, just to name a few.
“It was hard to see after all those years working with copper that something could operate over glass,” Carr said. “That was a fantastic deal.”
Bill Carr completed 45 years of service before retiring in December of 1994. “I had a great career with Fidelity,” he said. “I enjoyed every minute of it. I had a good bunch of people working with me and they were great to work with. I came there with very little experience, just a plain old country boy coming off the farm,” he laughed. “It was nice being employed down there.”