Separate names with a comma.
Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by Jay, Jan 22, 2006.
When my dad was a kid, his was HOpkins 6-5633.
Let's also not forget BR-549!!
These were the Los Angeles exchange names, circa 1939-40.
These are still wonderful to find for your location and use.
Ours was OXford 5-0534 here in Whittier, California (about 15 miles east of downtown Los Angeles), though I remember seeing phones that had OXbow rather than OXford on the center of the dial. I was born in 1961 so I don't recall having to go through an operator unless we needed assistance making a collect or long-distance call, but every once in a while we'd pick up the receiver to make a call only to find out we were somehow connected to a party line.
Ours in the Detroit area was PRescott 6-6819.
Wow, haven't thought of that in a looong time.
MUrray Hill 8-9933 -- the number radio listeners would call to vote for their favorite performers on Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour.
New York was one of the first cities to convert to the two letter-five number format, in 1930 -- and was also one of the last cities to abandon it. Boston kept the three letter-four number format until the early fifties, so you had numbers like KIRkland 3947 (A Cambridge number which was on my 202 when I first got it).
My telephone still has the "updated" HIX-XXXX on the pasteboard disk within the center of the dial. The HI exchange is for Hilltop.
FUN FACT: Marquette University High School sports teams are the Hilltoppers and the mascot is the mountain goat.
A lot of businesses used to make a big deal out of making their telephone numbers easy to remember. The only one that immediately comes to mind (and a poor example because it is a modern number) is the American Automobile Association Emergency Road Service number: 1-800-AAA-HELP. Sometimes in commercials, telephone numbers would have a catchy little jingle.
Some of the guys in the neighborhood formed a big band. Those cats are really hep if you dig my jive, daddy-o. They performed at our annual winter holiday party and had a surprise for everyone: Jackson Park 6-5000.
We always had all-number dialing (possibly because we weren't on a Bell system?). And it wouldn't quite have the same charm today, as we have to dial 10 digits for every call.
I grew up with four-digit dialing. If you had to dial five digits, you lived in the City. If someone asked you your phone number you'd say "2564," not KIngswood 8-2564 or 548-2564. If you lived where the exchange had more than one central office you'd say "8-2-5-6-4," not "8-2564." And you never, ever mentioned the area code because there was no need to mention it. To this day you can tell someone who isn't a native by the fact that they always give the area code when they give you their phone number -- Maine has only one area code for the entire state.
A couple of exchange names that people don't often remember are Zenith and Enterprise -- spelled that way, with no capitalization of the second letter. These were used for an early toll-free calling system for businesses and government offices, the precursor to the 1-800 system. This was introduced in the '30s -- and Z was added to the standard alphanumeric phone dial at that time, on the same hole as 0 for "Operator" to enable Zenith calling. When you started to dial a Zenith number, you'd be connected immediately to your local operator, and you'd give her the number verbally, as in a manual exchange system, and she'd go ahead and connect it in the same manner as a collect call. To dial an Enterprise number you *would not* dial EN -- you'd dial 0 and give it to the operator in the same way as a Zenith number, a procedure which confused a lot of people and required a long explanation in the front section of the phone book.
Amazingly, there are a still a few Zenith numbers in use, mostly in big-city government and law enforcement offices.
I remember relatives who lived in the sticks who had four number dialing. You either dialed four, or you had to dial 11 because it was long distance.
We have three different area codes just in our county alone. My home phone, my work phone and my cell phone all have different area codes. And it's long distance to dial my office or cell from home. And I regularly get calls at work or on my cell for the same 7-digit number but in the other area code. I assume other people get them all the time as well.
This is ff topic:
I 've always wondered if this was on purpose after much ...:beer:
I don't have a landline anymore because the phone company was ripping me off. But my old exchange was MA. From the list of LA exchanges I had my email address, my old number, include MAdison. Turns out my town's exchange was MAyfair.
In concert at the village festival. They sound much more better when not recorded on a cell 'phone. The sounds in the background are cicada insects and a diesel locomotive idling. So sorry, I could not find 「Jackson Park 6-5000」.
When I was a kid our phone number in Port Hope Ontario was TUrner 5-5851. You didn't have to dial the TU part, just the last 5 digits.
Then they changed it to 885-5851 (no more TUrner). Then they made it so you had to dial the area code too, 416-885-5851, then about 15 years ago they changed to 905-885-5851 when they added another exchange. Somewhere along there, they made it so you could direct dial long distance by adding 1 in front of the number.
I guess it all had to do with adding more and more phone numbers and expanding the local exchanges.
That was the main reason exchange names were abolished -- there simply weren't enough letter combinations that worked as part of pronouncable words to provide enough 2L-5N phone numbers to satisfy the growing demand. As any lottery player knows, the more digits used, the more combinations there are possible.
Considering prejudice towards Roman Catholics, this is very surprising to me. When the bells rang Angelus at noon, we stopped our playground jump rope during recess to pray.
Many years ago there was a TV commercial featuring two old guys in a one-upsmanship contest.
First Old Guy: "When I was a boy we had to WALK to school! Five miles! Up hill! Both ways! Barefoot! In the snow!
Second Old Guy: "WALKED! Feet! You had feet!?"
So here's my old guy bid. When I was a kid (50's and early 60's) we didn't have direct dial in my home town. If I were at my aunt's house and wanted to call my mother, I'd pick up the phone and ask the operator for "917M".
J, M, R, and W were party line suffixes used to denote the number of rings for the specific phone on that line.
In a lot of small towns, when dial service came in, 2L-5N numbers weren't used at first -- instead, four-digit numbers would be used with the name of the town serving as a default exchange name: Camden 2110, not CAmden 6-2110. But party lines were still used, so if you were calling a party line number in one of these towns you'd dial 2-1-1-0-W.
To facilitate this system, small towns would usually be issued special "rural" dial plates. Because exchange letters were not used, they didn't appear on the dial at all -- but the party line letters did appear, at the same position where they'd appear on the "metropolitan" dial.
For most Americans outside the big cities prior to the full standardization of 2L-5N in the mid-fifties, this is what a dial plate looked like.
BIshop 7-4788, my 3-party line in Chicago. The old mail code was 23. Funny how some things are imprinted from 60 years ago. ...and I can't remember what my wife told me to do this morning.
PL = Plaza; WH = Whitehall were a couple when I was a kid.