Two inventions of the 1870s opened up new job opportunities for women in the late 1800s.
The typewriter and the telephone switchboard, led to increasing employment of women typists and phone operators.
By 1900 more than three-fourths of all office workers were women. During the same period the number of women sales clerks increased more than tenfold.
Few women of color or immigrant women, however, held either office or sales jobs.
Young women office workers remained something of a novelty in the late 1800s; some men regarded them as objects of amusement or derision.