Phone switching pioneers to be inducted in National Inventors Hall of Fame

A woman who revolutionized telephone switching and a Bell Labs retiree who came up with a way to make cell phones truly mobile have been named as inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame’ s Class of 2008.

Erna Hoover, who in 1954 created a way to monitor the frequency of incoming calls so as to avoid phone switch overload while at Bell Labs, and Amos Joel, Jr., who made cell phone use practical, join a list of others that includes acoustics pioneer Amar Bose and others entering the Hall. Wrinkle free cotton, LEDs and hip replacement surgery were the tickets for other new members of the Inventors’ Hall, which was founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the National Council of Intellectual Property Law Association, and is located in Akron, Ohio.

According to the Hall, Hoover’s work led to development of the first electronic telephone central office from Bell Labs. The Wellesley College grad was awarded one of the first patents for software as well.  

Separately, MIT graduate Joel   racked up 70 patents during his career. According to the Hall, “Joel was also responsible for developing the Traffic Service Position System (TSPS) used to automate the work of telephone operators and the Automatic Intercept System (AIS) created to automatically handle calls to non-working numbers.”

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