The history of the telephone operators is actually quite different than you might think. Here is a little information from Listverse that will fill in the early history of telephone operators.
In the early days of the phone, people couldn’t simply dial a number and expect to be connected. Instead, they would first call their telephone operating center, where a telephone operator would manually operate a switchboard to route the call to the intended recipient. A particularly complicated call might require up to six operators furiously plugging switches into wall-sized switchboards.
The first call operators were young teenage boys. Telephone companies knew that working a switchboard was hard work and thought teenage boys would have the dexterity, energy, and reflexes needed. More importantly, they were cheap.
Unfortunately, there were some predictable problems with employing only teenagers. The boys soon developed a reputation for playing practical jokes on callers, including ending their calls without warning and deliberately connecting two strangers together to enjoy the resulting confusion. They also had a tendency to swear at customers and were known for fighting and drinking alcohol while working.
The whole thing was such a disaster that Bell eventually fired all of its teenage male operators en masse, replacing them with young women, who were considered more genteel and equally cheap. Other telephone companies followed suit and men only became operators again after equal rights legislation was passed in the 1970s.
Probably most kids under twenty have never even seen an actual switchboard. Guess it would be considered ancient history to most of them. I'll bet many haven't even had to find and use a pay phone either! Many memories for some of us tied up in those things, ya know?
Coffee out on the patio this morning!