When the telephone was introduced in the late 1870s, the telephone system was simple. Two telephones were connected by a wire running between the home and the office, for example. Soon people wanted to be able to phone other people, and telephone associations were therefore established in many locations. These telephone associations set up telephone switches to which telephone lines were connected so that people could talk to each other.
When the newly established telephone association in Gävle was looking for a supplier of telephone equipment in 1881, there were two alternatives: Stockholms Bell Telefonaktiebolag and Ericsson. Ericsson’s telephones and switchboard were selected.
Many telephone associations in other cities then followed Gävle’s example, which became a breakthrough for Ericsson’s manufacturing of telephone equipment. The company’s products were also exported, first to Norway and then to other countries. Over the following years, Ericsson was able to improve its products quickly.
Author: Centre for Business History, Stockholm