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Wightman Telephone
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 Normanby & Wightman Telephone

 

The History of Wightman Telephone

 

 

Wightman Telecom is a company founded on the "people come first" principle.

Passed from generation to generation. (From left) Ray Wightman and his two sons, Blair and Paul Wightman.

 

 

Started by the Wightman family in 1908, the "Little Telephone Company That Grew" has not forgotten its roots. And as it grows into a new communities and new technologies, Wightman still believes that one-on-one customer service is the future.

Who we are, and where we come from

When local phone service came to the Clifford area in the early 1900's, Robert Wightman, a local farmer in nearby Howick Township, desperately wanted to have service on his farm. Bell would not meet Robert's request for phone service. Rather than pursuing Bell's service further, Robert decided to start his own phone company by stringing lines from his farm to his neighbors throughout the township. So in 1908 the Robert Wightman Telephone System was born. Robert continued to over see the operations of the telephone system from the back kitchen of his farm house, and eventually, after connecting up sixty of his neighbors, Robert was able to connect into the local Bell exchange in Clifford. When the Great Depression hit, Bell unloaded many rural exchanges, and sold the Clifford exchange to Robert. In 1933 Robert retired and handed over the management of the Robert Wightman telephone company to his son Ben.

Ben weathered the years of the Great Depression and World War 2 and continued to oversee the operations until his death in 1948.

After Ben's death, his widow Leila, and his son Ray took over the company. In the mid 1960's a wave of change was sweeping over the telephone industry. New technology brought in automated dial switching, which meant the days of friendly operator connecting callers was soon going to be a thing of the past. As the new wave swept over the industry, many small municipal telephone systems began to be bought up by Bell. Ray decided to join this trend by buying several local exchanges surrounding his system. When Ray was done buying up these small local exchanges, he began to bring new technologies such as underground copper cable, and automated switching.

In the mid 1980's Ray's sons Paul and Blair became involved with over seeing the day to day operations of the company. In 1992 Paul and Blair jumped at the chance to double the size of their company by buying the neighboring South Bruce Rural Telephone Company, and in 1995 introduced mid-western Ontario to a new service called the Internet, which would allow the people of mid-western Ontario to have the world at their finger tips. In 1996 Wightman Telecom moved into a new flagship office complex on the north end of Clifford. Paul and Blair continue to operate the business and the fifth generation is now in place to someday take the wheel and move forward with the Wightman family's tradition of providing quality telecom service and products through out mid-western Ontario.

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Thank-you to Ray & Ruth Wightman for supplying  the photos and information.

Robert Wightman

 

Wightman Truck - Ayton, Ontario

 

Leila Wightman

Making the last operated assisted phone call

 


Ayton & Neustadt goes to Dialing system.

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