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TDI Beginnings (1968 – 1977)

(1968) H. Latham Breunig and his wife Nancy, representing the Oral Deaf Section of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and Jess M. Smith of National Association of the Deaf form Teletypewriters for the Deaf Distribution Committee (TDDC) to handle acquisition and distribution of Teletype machines from AT&T. Later TDDC became incorporated in Indianapolis as a non-profit organization called Teletypewriters for the Deaf, Inc. (TDI). Breunig was selected as the first President. The first national directory had 145 listings.

(1969) TDI receives tax-exempt status from the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization. The second directory grew to 475 listings.

(1970) The GA-SK publishes its first issue. TDI’s third directory grew to 810 listings nationwide.

(1971) Approximately 250 TDI agents gather for their first national conference at Gallaudet College.

(1973) TDI joins a coalition, Council of Organizations Serving the Deaf as the Board of Directors increased from three members to nine. TDI received $35,000 grant from Lily Foundation to support TDI agents, purchase surplus TTYs and reprint TTY technical manuals.

(1974) 358 registrants attend the first International TDI Convention in Chicago, IL hosted by the Chicago Telecommunications Club for the Deaf at the Pick-Congress Hotel. Al Pimentel elected as President and Breunig tapped as Executive Director. TDI publishes the Teletypewriters Made Easy TTY repair manual and the How to Use Your TTY consumer guide with office space and volunteers provided by Indiana Bell.

(1975) TDI is represented at International Congress on Education of the Deaf in Tokyo. TDI also presents paper on telecommunications at the World Federation of the Deaf Congress, which became one of five presentations at the World Congress Commission on Communications the following year. TDI relo­cates to the Washington, DC offices of Telephone Pioneers of America. Executive Director Breunig was elected as an Hon­orary Member of Telephone Pioneers of America

(1977) 500 registrants attend the second TDI Convention hosted by the NY/NJ Phone-TTY, Inc. at the Rye­town Hilton Inn in Port Chester, NY. The issue of the day was modem compatibility standards.