History of the Ridgeville Telephone Company
Telephone System in Ridgeville Corners
January 1882, John Scofield connected his residence and general store together with telephones. This was considered a “wonderful convenience.”
In June, 1904, the Ridgeville Mutual Telephone Company was organized. Anton Giffey, president; John Rice, secretary. Others influential in the organization were Fred Cordes, Dr. Coy, Christ Genter, Adam Mohr and Elmer Tressler.
The telephone poles were black ash, cut from the Huner woods east of Ridgeville Corners. Arthur Giffey and Ernest Mohr helped cut poles and deliver them. Each pole measured 5 inches on top and 22 feet long.
In December 1904, the telephone poles and wires were in place and a number of phones had been connected to the switchboard. The trunk lines to Evansport and Okolona were in. The exchange opened January 1, 1905, with E. E. Tressler in charge.
People wanting telephone service built their own lines and paid for poles, crossarms and wire. Eight members and sometimes 10 or 11 residences were allowed on a line. A code system of ringing was used, according to your number; for instance, number one on the line was two long rings; number two, one long and one short ring; number three, one short and one long ring and etc. Everyone on the line heard the rings of any member on the line. This was a convenience when the neighbors wanted to listen in on the conversation (Sometimes an aggravation). When all members on a line heard four long rings, this meant everyone was to lift the receiver and listen for a message. This was a way of letting people know of an emergency or some type of meeting everyone was expected to know about.
The first telephone office was destroyed by fire in 1915. After the fire, a large steel derrick was constructed in the center of town, along the Napoleon-Bryan Pike over the Town Pump. All telephone wires coming into town came to the derrick and then to the telephone office which was now located on the second floor of a store building on the west side of the Ridge Road.
The Ridgeville Telephone Company was incorporated February 2, 1918, as the Ridgeville Mutual Telephone Company. Incorporators were: Anton Giffey, Anthony Miller, C. A. Dannenberg, Adam C. Mohr, E. W. Dehnbostel and Albert Wesche.
In January 1919, the Telephone Company purchased a house from F. A. Rowe for $2,550.00. One room was used for a telephone office and the rest of the house was used for living quarters for the operator.
July 1922, the Company purchased a Leich Electric switchboard for $862.80. In September 1947, a Stromberg Carlson switchboard was installed for $1,132.05. In March 1925, the State Highway department notified the Telephone Company that the steel tower or derrick used for telephone lines was an obstruction in the highway and should be removed as soon as possible.
The first telephone underground cable was installed and all members of the telephone system paid their share of the cable. The derrick was then removed from the center of town.
During the Depression years (1932) the general manager’s salary was reduced from $0.50 an hour to $0.30 an hour. The operator’s salary was reduced from $115.00 a month to $75.00 a month.
In 1934 the first fire siren was installed on a derrick on telephone property.
In 1947 a very bad sleet storm felled most of the telephone poles and wires.
For many years the Telephone Company experienced boundary line disputes. Finally in 1957 the boundary lines were established, signed and filed with the Public Utilities Commission.
In 1956 the Company purchased their first used 1951 panel truck for their service calls.
Anton Giffey served as president for the company from 1904 through 1938.
Adam Mohr was general manager for many years. Each telephone line had a line man and they were responsible for the upkeep of their poles and all members on the line shared in the cost.
In 1951, twenty-four hour service went into effect. Before this the hours were 5:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M. After 10:00 P.M. emergency calls only.
In 1962 the Telephone Company re-organized in preparation of going to a dial system. A new telephone office was built and Stromberg-Carlson XY equipment was installed. Along with the general trend in industry, telephone lines enclosed in cable are going underground.
Ken Miller was named manager in 1983, and the Company installed its first digital switch in 1986, and, after almost 50 years of dedicated service, Grover Rice retired in 1986.
RTEC Communications, Inc. was formed in 1990 to provide CATV services to the village. Then, in 1992, the first fiber optic cable was deployed, and the company incorporated Henry County MRTV, an authorized distributor of DirecTV in Henry County, Ohio.
In 1993, another fiber optic cable was installed to connect to GTE, and in 1995, the company incorporated bright.net North, Inc.
In Recent History…
In 1999 the Company sold its DirecTV rights in Henry County, Ohio and in 2000 built an HFC 860 mhz Cable delivery system in Archbold and Ridgeville Corners.
In 2003 and 2004 RTEC built a 200 mile fiber optic network in Northwest Ohio and began offering metro Ethernet services to area businesses.
In 2005 The Ridgeville Telephone Company began its 10 year projected FTTH project which will transition all rural Ridgeville Telephone customers from copper to fiber when completed. The Company is using the Wave7 Trident platform for this project.
In 2006 the Company installed a MetaSwitch soft switch and began phasing out the old Mitel Switch.
In 2007 the Company began offering telephone service over its HFC network in Archbold, Ohio.
In 2008 RTEC is field testing an IP video over QAM platform named Go Back TV in an effort to offer expanded video services to its video customers.
2014 David Gobrogge was promoted to General Manager and continues a renewed sense of vision.
2015 the Ridgeville Telephone Company completed the 10 year fiber to the home project in Ridgeville and the company is currently engineering a FTTH project for the Archbold and Burlington/Elmira area with projected completion in 2018.