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Thomas Benjamin Doolittle (1839 - 1921)

Thomas Benjamin Doolittle
Born in Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USAmap [uncertain]
Ancestors ancestors
Husband of — married 24 Dec 1866 in New Yorkmap
Descendants descendants
Died at age 81 in Roxbury, Litchfield, Connecticut, United Statesmap [uncertain]
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Profile last modified | Created 31 Mar 2009
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Thomas was a noted inventor, scientist, and telephone pioneer.

He was a machinist at Derby, CT. He was educated at Woodbury Academy. In 1909 the honorary degree of Doctor of Science was conferred upon him by Dartmouth College. He started out manufacturing brass articles at Bridgeport, CT, 1890-1891. It was there that he invented several things having to do with making barbed wire & meter devices for street cars.

Thomas was the inventor of the telephone switchboard. He invented it formally July 1878 in Boston, Mass. This was a twenty-circuit switchboard. His very first was in Bridgeport, Conn. He worked with hard copper wire. Copper wire is a good conductor for electricity. He had soft, annealed copper wire drawn through a series of dies in order to increase its tensile strength. This hard wire was used for line wire and vastly extended the range of telephone transmission.

Thomas was the first President of AT&T,

He invented hard drawn copper wire which enabled long distance service, the telephone exchange & many other telephone related items. He received the Edward Longstreth Medal from the Franklin Institute for his wire process. He retired from AT&T in 1909. He resided at Branford, CT.


[1] Thomas Benjamin Doolittle BIRTH 30 Jun 1839 Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA DEATH 4 Apr 1921 (aged 81) Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA BURIAL South Cemetery Woodbury, Litchfield County, Connecticut, USA MEMORIAL ID 45316442

Name: Thomas B Doolittle Event Type: Census Event Date: 1880 Event Place: Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States District: ED 128 Gender: Male Age: 40 Marital Status: Married Race: White Race (Original): W Occupation: Works W. U. Tel. Co Relationship to Head of Household: Self Relationship to Head of Household (Original): Self Birth Year (Estimated): 1840 Birthplace: Connecticut, United States Father's Birthplace: Connecticut, United States Mother's Birthplace: Connecticut, United States Note: Sheet Letter: C Sheet Number: 448 Sheet Number and Letter: 448C Household ID: 5272859 Person Number: 0 Volume: 1 Affiliate Name: The U.S. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) Affiliate Publication Number: T9 Affiliate Film Number: 0095 GS Film Number: 1254095 Digital Folder Number: 005157298 Image Number: 00339

Household Role Sex Age Birthplace Thomas B Doolittle Self M 40 Connecticut, United States Mary L Doolittle Wife F 38 New York, United States Chas P Doolittle Son M 11 Connecticut, United States Harry W Doolittle Son M 9 Connecticut, United States Ruth E Doolittle Daughter F 7 Connecticut, United States Edith Y Doolittle Daughter F 5 Connecticut, United States

Citing this Record: "United States Census, 1880," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 August 2017), Thomas B Doolittle, Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut, United States; citing enumeration district ED 128, sheet 448C, NARA microfilm publication T9 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.), roll 0095; FHL microfilm 1,254,095.

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Comments: 2

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This page and this page (without citing a source) claims that T.D. developed in 1877 the copper wire that was used later in telephone cables.
posted by Jillaine Smith
Betty, what's the source for this information? Wikipedia's page about the history of the switchboard claims it was invented by someone else.
posted by Jillaine Smith

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Categories: Inventors