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James M. Thomas Telephone Museum

From Ohio History Central

The James M. Thomas Telephone Museum is located in Chillicothe, Ohio. The museum is located in the Horizon Chillicothe Telephone office building.

The James M. Thomas Telephone Museum provides an overview of the telephone's history and its contributions to Chillicothe's development. The museum also contains the archives of Horizon Telcom, Inc., a major Chillicothe telephone service provider at the start of the twenty-first century. The museum is named for James M. Thomas, a probate judge in Ross County and the first president of the United States Independent Telephone Association. With local executives Joseph S. McKell, Charles D. Duncan, and Albert H. Reutinger, Thomas established one of the earliest telephone companies in Chillicothe. The company began operations in 1895. Prior to 1895, the Central Union Telephone Company provided phone service in Chillicothe. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, owned this firm. Once Bell's patent on the telephone ended, Thomas and other executives formed their own companies and used Bell's invention.