The Nation: Crank Calls

Too often on the heels of progress come standardization, conformity and impersonality. The citizens of Bryant Pond, Me. (pop. 500) have decided to keep at least one automated evil at bay. The town is the last in New England to rely completely on a magneto crank telephone system. When the proposal to replace the magneto phones with modern equipment came before the public utilities commission recently, more than 200 townspeople showed up to defend the system.

Nearly all the town's 341 subscribers said that they relished cranking their telephones to signal the operator, since someone familiar was bound to be at the...

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