Telephone Pioneers Of America
Bell Shaped Paperweights

Ken Pollard, Dayton, Ohio

Telephone Pioneers Of America - Bell Shaped Paperweights - Ken Pollard, Dayton, Ohio

* National Insulator Association Best of Go-Withs
* Central Florida Insulator Collectors Award for Best First Time Display at a National

"The Telephone Pioneers of America is a fellowship organization of Telephone Employees founded in November of 1911 as an organization dedicated to the 'Service of mankind' concept. They developed an Emblem that is in the shape of a triangle with a blue bell at its center. The local chapters of the 'pioneers' are often involved in raising funds for their local community service projects and are very creative in their fund raising efforts.

"In 1972 the Telephone Pioneers Council in Asbury Park, New Jersey came up with a unique idea for a fund raising project. They would recreate a glass bell-shaped paperweight exactly like the old "Blue Bell" paperweights that were used by the Telephone Companies in the early 1900's and sell them to the many local chapters of the Telephone Pioneers of America. The local chapters would then resell them locally to raise funds in their own communities, for charitable projects.

"The old paperweights were used as advertising to promote the long distance telephone service that was struggling to become a viable service shortly before the turn-of-the-century in 1900. With that in mind a vast advertising campaign was mounted to get the words "Long Distance Telephone" before the consumer. Some bore the names of the local Telephone Companies on one side and nearly all had Local and Long Distance Telephone on the other. The bells were cast in various shades of blue, mostly dark shades, to match the company logo, however some are quite light blue in color.

"The fad of paperweights in general seems to have waned by the 1930's and the use of them by the Bell System for advertising purposes appears to have disappeared around that time. As well as being given to potential customers the paperweights were also standard office supplies for the Telephone exchange offices and could be ordered like any other stationery needs. For this reason they were used by the telephone employees, and often traded back and forth, to acquire one with another phone company's name on it."

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Last updated Saturday, October 4, 1997