At the end of the XIX century one american enterpreneur invented a system to withstand competition. This system we all use nowadays.
This american enterpreneur was Almon Brown Strowger. Strowger patented his automatic telephone exchange and left the undertaking business to mass-produce his new invention.
Anecdotally, Strowger's undertaking business was losing clients to a competitor whose telephone-operator wife was redirecting everyone who called for Strowger. Motivated to remove the intermediary operator, he invented the first automatic telephone exchange in 1889 and received its patent in 1891.It is reported that he initially constructed a model of his invention from a round collar box and some straight pins.