Born in 1839, Almon Brown Stowger became a school teacher after the American Civil War. As he was an introverted person, he switched the job and became an undertaker. This was an ideal work for him, as he not had much people around and further time to investigate and work on different ideas.

Normally his business was resistant to crises, but Stowger noticed that less and less people called to his office. He found the reason for this: the wife of one of his competitor’s worked as a telephone-operator. She intercepted the calls for Stowger and connected them to her husband’s office instead.


Due to his character, Stowger not tried to contact the telephone company and demand to fire this person, but he started to think in general about  telecommunication and finally invented the “Stowger Switch”, an automated telephone switching system, what could replace the job of the operator. The system eliminated the middleman (or middlewoman in this case) and the caller could select directly the receiver. A patent what he sold later in 1916 to Bell Systems.