The History of the Hold Button

Hold button

It’s hard to imagine life without the telephone. Thanks to Alexander Graham Bell, phones have helped to cultivate and maintain countless relationships. If you think about how often you pick up the phone, then you’ll quickly see that it is vital to your business.  In fact, it adds that human touch when we can’t meet in person.  And, without human to human interaction, we would be living every day like an android.

Today your phone is a valuable office asset. In fact, every business phone system allows you to transfer calls and place people on hold so you can answer multiple calls.  We can even engage with many people from around the world on the same call.  You can program your phone to answer basic questions. And a phone call can cement contracts and finalize business transactions.  People and communication are what keeps businesses alive. So it’s a given that phones play an important part in most transactions.

Did you ever wonder about the history of the telephone on-hold button?

Milton H. Herzman was working for New York Telephone, an office with many telephones. Although the phones had multiple lines, you had to disconnect each of these lines before a second call could be answered. What an inconvenience!

Milton used his background knowledge in radio, communications, and electronics to come up with a solution to the problem, a working model of the on-hold button.   This marvel was successfully incorporated into the Western Electric Series E phone, patented in 1930.


The telephone remains a valuable business tool for communication.

Despite the introduction of email and online chats, the telephone is still our most popular way of contacting an organization or business. But high call volumes can present a dilemma which can only be handled effectively by placing callers on-hold.  So it’s important for your bottom line to turn hold time into marketing time.  Of course, there’s an added bonus to a professional on hold program. Your customers are reassured that they have called a capable operation.

On-hold messaging can be entertaining, educational and brand-building. Contact On-Hold Marketing today and we’ll turn that silence, beep or radio playing on your phone lines into productive marketing time. You will be glad you did.

Read about the history of telephone advertisements in this article “Telephone Advertisements Throughout The Ages” .

The inventor…looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees, he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea.”  – Alexander Graham Bell


Add some life to your phone system

We can help you add some professionalism to your auto-attendant system or better market your special offers to callers who are waiting on-hold.

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