A Little Answering Service History


The first telephone answering service was established in Richmond, Virginia as Mrs Smith’s Doctors Exchange in 1923. Margaret Redmond Smith, who was bedridden by the way, operated her answering service by using an old French-style telephone mounted on an accordion style extension next to her bed. She answered calls for local doctors, and created a viable business for herself for the next two years. Following her passing in 1925, the business was continued by her son and his wife. (Many answering services have histories of being passed down to the next generation of the family) In 1933, they expanded the business to serving commercial customers in addition to their already existing medical clients. It wasn’t until 1955 that they moved the business out of the home and into a formal office space in town.


Our founder, Ruth Goldenberg, established Direct Line in 1979 in a small office with leased switchboards from the telephone company in Berkeley, California. The primary focus was initially providing 24 hour emergency dispatch services to the medical community and dispatch and messaging services to business and professional clients. The small agency became well known and highly regarded in the community. Over time we have expanded and have stayed ahead of the curve as technology has come available. We were one of the early adopters of computerized answering service technology in the 1980’s, and our modern computerized system allows us to provide highly technical services, some not even involving answering a phone. As technology improves, we continue to stay ahead of the curve.

Giving answers 24/7/365 – Every Day. All Day. Always.

While part of our client base has remained consistent, our systems and people have allowed us to offer much more sophisticated services to clients in every profession. We have also evolved into providing call center services including inbound order taking, reservation and information gathering services, and alert monitoring via email/messaging for a wide variety of clients. We serve doctors, attorneys, small business, large corporations, educational institutions, entrepreneurs, and major technology powerhouses. Each service we provide is able to be tailored to fit the needs of our clients, which is what keeps them coming back to us month after month, year after year, and even decade after decade.

Like Mrs. Smith’s answering service, Direct Line TeleResponse continues to remain in the Goldenberg Family. In 2012 the torch was passed down to the next generation, Ruth’s son Ken. With over 20 years of experience in the family business, Ken Goldenberg has been established as the new company president and  has continued the agency’s legacy of excellence

Direct Line as a privately owned answering service managed by the same principles since the company’s inception in 1979. 

We are the perfect extension of your business.

Contact us today to learn more about our services, at 888-365-2424.

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