Closing of the last manual telephone switchboard in Spain in 1988

On December 19, 1988, the last manual telephone switchboard in Spain, in Polopos, was closed. Magdalena Martin was the last operator.

 
 

“Tables filled with ham and wine were taken to the square, enlivened with music, for the exceptional guests: Minister of Transport, Tourism and Communications José Barrionuevo and Luis Solana, then president of Telefónica, who arrived by helicopter to the location. The two showed up at Magdalena's house, who made the last connection to call Felipe González himself, the President of the government. "I was very nervous because my voice sounded in the square," she recalls.

Magdalena Martín, the day in which the last call was made from a manual switchboard (1988)

Magdalena Martín, the day in which the last call was made from a manual switchboard (1988)

She did not enjoy the festive atmosphere of the day that was narrated in the chronicles of the time and is still remembered in Polopos thanks to a commemorative plaque. "I've always answered the phone dutifully and then treated me so badly," she protests.

Magdalena remained unemployed. Although Telefónica prided itself to be a ‘family company’, they didn’t offer much in compensation. They did not offer her a new job. What the company did do was to take the switchboard and the chair in which Magdalena had spent so many moments, including the notepad in which she wrote down the calls, in order to preserve what is now part of the history of telecommunications.

After finishing the party, the authorities invited her husband for dinner, but not Magdalena ("they could have said 'come along'"), who stayed at home with nothing to do.”

Loosely translated from an article in El Diario. Link here.