AT&T Tech Channel

About this video

Using footage and animation, this film examines the function of the #1ESS, or Electronic Switching System. The first 1ESS was installed in Succasunna, New Jersey in 1964, and increased the switching capacity of the network greatly. Whereas the largest electromechanical switches could only route around a thousand calls, the ESS' maximum capacity was to put through up to 100,000 calls an hour. This made its application for larger and growing cities throughout the United States essential.

This film concerns itself with the #1ESS and its performance, serving as a sales/promotional film. It includes scenes of manufacturing and operation. For such a seemingly dry topic, the film is full of period psychedelic imagery and music.

Though this ESS was an extremely sophisticated piece of equipment that took decades to develop, it was not fully digital. The first digital switcher was installed in Chicago in the mid-1970s. Today, there are only tens of #1ESS switches left in the country.

  • Directed by Horst Rohner
  • Music by Hans Wurman
  • Animation by Diane Goodrich
  • Produced by The Magic Theater Company, Chicago, IL.
Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

Release date: 07/06/2012

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