Almon B. Strowger was an inventive genius who re-charted the whole concept of telecommunications. He set his mind to resolve a problem, improved what Alexander G. Bell had devised and invented the dial telephone. He produced a mechanism that had no predecessors and his original ideas embody the principles that are largely in use today.
Strowger was born in Penfield, N.Y., in 1839. He was a commissioned lieutenant in the New York cavalry and was a school principal in Penfield, N.Y. He taught in Villa Ridge and Anna, Ill., North Lansing, Mich., and Topeka, Kan. In Topeka, he entered the undertaking business and later moved the business to Kansas City, MO. It was in Kansas City that he became concerned that telephone operators were diverting calls to rival undertakers.
Strowger filed a series of patents, found financial backers and technicians and “The Strowger Automatic Telephone Exchange” was established in Chicago. The first installation of the dial telephone was in LaPorte, Ind., but only after legal suits on franchise and patent infringements had been resolved. A. B. Strowger was a true Pioneer in the Independent telephone industry. He died in 1902.