Early San Marcos, Texas, Telephone Directories
1908 San Marcos Telephone Co.
1909 San Marcos Telephone Co.
In early San Marcos, there were two distinct telephone companies:
Southwestern Telegraph & Telephone (the "Bell system"), and the
local San Marcos Telephone Company. Each telephone connected the user
to a switchboard with an operator to place calls within each network of
local lines; however, to connect locally to someone on the other system
required patching through the long-distance operator--and long-distance
rates applied. You will see that many businesses, and even some
residences, can be found in both directories. They subscribed to both
telephone companies and had two seperate telephone handsets.
1911 San Marcos Telephone Co.
1912 San Marcos Telephone Co.
1913 San Marcos Telephone Co.
1914 San Marcos Telephone Co.
1915 San Marcos Telephone Co.
1917 San Marcos Telephone Co.
1919 San Marcos Telephone Co. This 1919 directory discusses the merger with the local Southwestern Bell operation.
1920 first merged directory.
Many of the local telephones up to this point have
been "party lines," where up to four customers shared a single
Southwestern Bell used the "ring system" to
differentiate who the intended party was--the operator would ring once
for one customer, twice for another, three times for another,
etc. All parties sharing the line would hear all the rings.
The San Marcos Telephone Company used the more
advanced "harmonic system" for their party lines--each handset was
tuned to ring only on a certain wire. (There were four wires: Red,
Yellow, Blue, Black.) The operator would send an electric pulse to the
color line requested, and it would only ring on that handset; but the
conversation could still be heard on all of the parties' phones.
In the pre-1919 telephone books, the party lines in
the Bell directories have the notation F1, F2, F3, or F4; and the party
lines in the San Marcos Telephone Co. directories have color notations,
X for black, B for blue, G for green, or Y for yellow.
In the 1920 directory, after the merger, you will
see both notations for the party lines, depending on the legacy
technology from each company.
This specimen also has a Southwest Texas Normal School directory pasted
to the back. It includes students living on- and off-campus.
1942 Includes College and Classified directories
1951 Includes College and Classified directories
Directories printed after 1953 are available in the TTWC file cabinets.