ToorCamp 2022

Indiana Jones and the Warehouse of Phones: Restoring electromechanical telephone switches
2022-07-15, 14:00–14:50 (US/Pacific), Prime Dome

At the Connections Museum in Seattle, volunteers have spent years locating parts for, and restoring the last No. 1 Crossbar and Panel telephone switches in the world. A tale of wild luck, adventure, and passion, with a reasonable amount of interesting technical details.

This talk can go in a few different directions depending on audience feedback. We can do a story-time thing, or we can focus on history, or the technical aspects of how the switches work. Anything goes! I will come prepared with content regardless.

Sarah Autumn is a volunteer at the Connections Museum in Seattle, WA where she specializes in early 20th century telephone history. Her main role at the museum is the maintenance and restoration of telephone central office equipment from the 1920-1960 era, and her passion for this craft has earned her the title of "Switch Witch." It's an appropriate moniker because the skills required to work on such large, complex and obsolete machines look like magic to an outside observer. Sarah has traveled the country to track down and obtain some of the necessary parts and pieces for these machines, so they can be brought back to life for museum visitors to enjoy.

In her spare time, Sarah enjoys traveling, spending time with her cat, and playing a whole bunch of musical instruments. For her "day job" she is a technical educator at a Seattle area tech company.