when did phone #s go to 7 digit numbers?

Discussion in 'The Observation Bar' started by davestlouis, May 29, 2010.

  1. davestlouis

    davestlouis Practically Family

    Messages:
    805
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I understand that it was 7 characters, but I was born in 1966, and grew up in Cincinnati, OH...I don't recall ever hearing or seeing any reference to the alphanumeric numbers, everything was already all digits.
     
  2. AtomicEraTom

    AtomicEraTom

    Messages:
    10,885
    Location:
    Portage, Wis.
    Alphanumeric exchanges were long gone by my time, but my dad says as a kid his was HOpkins6-5633 and his Grandmothers was an UPtown exchange, both in Milwaukee.

    We had an old building, which was full of just about everything that had been used there, since it was built in 1853 and was a pharmacy from 1865 until we bought it in 2004. Until the 1950s, the phone number was listed as 19.

    In Portage, it was RIverside2, and is still 742.
     
  3. FountainPenGirl

    FountainPenGirl One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Hey, now that is interesting. I had forgotten all about that until you mentioned it. The dial tone and such are different. I remember noticing that but since it happened roughly 30 years ago locally I hadn't even thought of it since. It's funny how this reminiscing triggers the memory.

    I don't know if this could be another thread but how many of you are actually using your vintage phones? I have an AE40 hooked up right here next to the computer. I have about 6 vintage phones hooked up around the house at any given time.
     
  4. AtomicEraTom

    AtomicEraTom

    Messages:
    10,885
    Location:
    Portage, Wis.
    I recently moved out of my parents' house, and don't have a land line right now, but when I lived there, I had 2 WE 500's hooked up in my bedroom. Can't beat the sound of those bells.
     
  5. LizzieMaine

    LizzieMaine Bartender

    A 202 in my living room, a 302 on my desk, and another 302 in the bedroom, and they get used every day. They aren't a collection, they're my phones.
     
  6. bradford

    bradford Familiar Face

    Messages:
    63
    Location:
    Sacramento / Phoenix
    My father grew up in a very small town in Michigan in the 40's and 50's and he says that the operators knew all the gossip in town and also that when my dad wanted to find one of his friends, the operator would usually know if the person was at their house or had gone to visit someone else.

    As a side note, when there were still local and regional phone companies, my great-grandparents owned the phone company in this small town and the switchboard was actually located on the second floor of their house.
     
  7. FountainPenGirl

    FountainPenGirl One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    148
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    My uncle worked for a phone company until he retired. Our local phone co. was General Telephone & Electronics or GTE. My aunt & uncle lived about 35 miles away in a different town. I'm not sure if he worked for GTE or Bell Telephone which was also in their area. Anyway they were offered to buy a local phone co. which came with a house where the switchboard was in the house. The thing about this was you were on the job 24 hours a day. If you hired help then they were in the house with you. They decided to pass on the offer and continued to work for a larger company. It wasn't too many years after that the little company was absorbed into the larger system.
    He worked during the years when a lot of systems were converting to dial systems and he pulled out lots of old phone equipment. Wood wall phones, Candle Sticks, Payphones, and any other kind of non-dial phone you can think of. They were just throwing this stuff away. They would fill old sheds full of wood wall phones and then set the shed on fire and burn up the whole works. He could have all he wanted to take home so he did. All over their house were phones. Even in the bathroom. At their cabin there was a phone in the outhouse. He gave me a couple of phones to play with. One is an AE80 which was quite new at the time and the other is a Western Electric 21AL Candlestick if that's the right no. without getting out my telephone books. I kept those phones over the years and was determined I would make them work. Well I stuck with it and both do today. I keep the candlestick in my radio shop. I have mounted a dial on the ringer box so I can dial out. The dial was made in 1955 though.
    The 202 WE is one I really like. We have a 302 WE in the bedroom.
    For some reason phones are a fascination that's hung with me over time.
     
  8. vintage_jayhawk

    vintage_jayhawk One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    109
    Location:
    Expat in the Caribbean
    I grew up in a small farming community and I remember as a child dialing 5 digits to call my grandma in town. We didn't switch to 7 digit dialing until the late 1980's.
     
  9. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,078
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    I'll never forget my first telephone number that my parents still have. Astoria8-**** :)
     
  10. AtomicEraTom

    AtomicEraTom

    Messages:
    10,885
    Location:
    Portage, Wis.
    Great story! If you are into old phones, you should try http://classicrotaryphones.com/forum they would love your phone stories.

    I would love to have a 202, but they're pretty rich for my blood. I do have a WE Imperial which was a gold and white 202 they made in the 50's out of left over parts. I have a 302 next to my couch.

     
  11. WideBrimm

    WideBrimm A-List Customer

    Messages:
    476
    Location:
    Aurora, Colorado
    For those who still use land line phones at home, it's always a good idea to keep an older phone, such as a rotary, for use when the power goes down. Most, if no all, of these fancy newer phones depend on household power while the older phones utilize phone system power to operate.
     
  12. Undertow

    Undertow My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,127
    Location:
    Des Moines, IA, US
    Wow, this is great info! Thanks Lizzie!

    I still remember my first phone#, but of course it was the 7digit. ;)
     
  13. jwalls

    jwalls Vendor

    Messages:
    741
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    One of my grandfathers was sheriff in Northern Georgia. Mom said they had the only phone in the county that was in a private home. She said when he made a call he'd pick up the receiver and say "Give me the office, Mildred".
     

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