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A Phone of Our Own: The Deaf Insurrection Against Ma Bell
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A Phone of Our Own: The Deaf Insurrection Against Ma Bell

Harry G. Lang

In 1964, of the more than 85 million telephones in the United States and Canada, less than one percent were used regularly by deaf people. In that same year, three enterprising deaf men, Robert H. Weitbrecht, James C. Marsters, and Andrew Saks, started the process that led to deaf people around the world possessing an affordable phone system that they could use. Harry Lang's A Phone of Our Own: The Deaf Insurrection Against Ma Bell tells how these three men collaborated to solve the technical difficulties of developing a coupling device for TTYs that would translate sounds into discernible letters. More remarkably, and with the help of an expanding corps of Deaf advocates, they successfully assaulted the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T), which in its efforts to protect its monopoly, smashed old TTYs to keep them from being used for potentially competitive purposes. A Phone of Our Own is an entertaining and engrossing story of how Deaf people fought and won, and changed the world for the better for deaf people everywhere.

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