EXchange names for phone numbers

Discussion in 'Your Vintage Home' started by Jay, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. AtomicEraTom

    AtomicEraTom

    Messages:
    10,885
    Location:
    Portage, Wis.
    When my dad was a kid, his was HOpkins 6-5633.

    Let's also not forget BR-549!!
     
  2. These were the Los Angeles exchange names, circa 1939-40.

    ADams
    ALbany
    ANgelus
    BLanchard
    BRadshaw
    CApitol
    CEntury
    CHapman
    CLeveland
    CUmberland
    DRexel
    EXposition
    FAirfax
    FEderal
    FItzroy
    GArfield
    GLadstone
    GRanit
    HEmpstead
    HIllside
    HOllywood
    JEfferson
    KImball
    LAfayette
    MAdison
    MIchigan
    MOrn'side
    MUtual
    NEvada
    NOrmandy
    OLympia
    PArkway
    PLeasant
    PRospect
    PYramid
    REpublic
    RIchmond
    ROchester
    SEquoia
    STanley
    THornwall
    TRinity
    TUcker
    TWinoaks
    UNiversity
    VAndike
    VErmont
    WAlnut
    WEbster
    WHhitney
    WOodbury
    WYoming
    YOrk
     
  3. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Messages:
    14,248
    Location:
    Small Town Ohio, USA
    These are still wonderful to find for your location and use.
     
  4. Zombie_61

    Zombie_61 I'll Lock Up

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  5. vintage.vendeuse

    vintage.vendeuse A-List Customer

    Messages:
    355
    Location:
    Somewhere near Motown
    Ours in the Detroit area was PRescott 6-6819.

    Wow, haven't thought of that in a looong time. :)
     
  6. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    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).
     
  7. Veronica T

    Veronica T Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Illinois
    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  8. 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.
     
  9. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    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.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  10. 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.
     
  11. 2jakes

    2jakes I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    9,680
    Location:
    Alamo Heights ☀️ Texas
    This is :eek:ff topic:

    YELLOW CAB
    222-2222

    I 've always wondered if this was on purpose after much ...:beer:
     
  12. Young fogey

    Young fogey One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    276
    Location:
    Eastern US
    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.
     
  13. Veronica T

    Veronica T Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Illinois
    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」.

    [video=youtube;PTWsW1Vm4vk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTWsW1Vm4vk[/video]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2014
  14. Stanley Doble

    Stanley Doble Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,772
    Location:
    Cobourg
    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.
     
  15. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    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.
     
  16. Veronica T

    Veronica T Familiar Face

    Messages:
    84
    Location:
    Illinois
    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.
     
  17. KILO NOVEMBER

    KILO NOVEMBER Practically Family

    Messages:
    780
    Location:
    Cheapeake Bay Drainage Basin
    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".
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014
  18. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    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.

    [​IMG]

    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.
     
  19. Bugguy

    Bugguy A-List Customer

    Messages:
    415
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    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.
     
  20. hatguy1

    hatguy1 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,145
    Location:
    Da Pairee of da prairee
    PL = Plaza; WH = Whitehall were a couple when I was a kid.
     

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