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Old Telephone numbers

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Turkeytop
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Old Telephone numbers

Post by Turkeytop » Sun Jul 01, 2018 10:24 pm

Back in the days of rotary dial. Back when phone numbers were seven characters and area codes were only for long distance calls.

In that much gentler time, phone numbers also came with a name. The first two characters represented the first two letters of a name. The third character was a single digit followed by four more digits.

Somehow, Franklin 6, sounded more elegant than 376. Parkwood 4 sounded classier than 724.



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MisterGoodrich2U
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Location: West Michigan

Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by MisterGoodrich2U » Mon Jul 02, 2018 6:28 pm

Yep, I'm old enough to remember. Our Detroit number began with Vermont ... as in VE.

Can't remember the rest of it now!


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Turkeytop
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Turkeytop » Mon Jul 02, 2018 9:42 pm

Those old numbers could be worked nicely into radio jingles, Even now, all these years later, I can still recall some of the numbers, long after I've forgotten the names of the businesses. There was a car dealer in Toronto. Their number (they used to sing it) was Oxford 4 6464. I used to listen to WBZ from Boston. The number for one of their advertisers was Andrew 8 8000. They sang that one too.



organman95
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by organman95 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:38 am

I never understood why there was a name/character for first two digits, and then all of a sudden switch to just straight numbers across the board.



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Turkeytop
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Turkeytop » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:39 am

organman95 wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:38 am
I never understood why there was a name/character for first two digits, and then all of a sudden switch to just straight numbers across the board.
I think the name just made it more memorable. Only five digits to remember.

Even today, some businesses try to make a name out of their phone number. "Dial 11 800 Coffins."



organman95
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by organman95 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:20 pm

Turkeytop wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:39 am
I think the name just made it more memorable. Only five digits to remember.
Even today, some businesses try to make a name out of their phone number. "Dial 11 800 Coffins."
You still had to know how to spell the name correctly for the first two digits anyway LOL



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Turkeytop
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Turkeytop » Tue Jul 03, 2018 7:08 pm

organman95 wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 2:20 pm
Turkeytop wrote:
Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:39 am
I think the name just made it more memorable. Only five digits to remember.
Even today, some businesses try to make a name out of their phone number. "Dial 11 800 Coffins."
You still had to know how to spell the name correctly for the first two digits anyway LOL
They probably selected words of which the spelling would be very unambiguous, If the first three digits were 763, they would probably use something like Roehampton 3, rather than Pneumonia 3.



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Some Guy from Toledo
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Some Guy from Toledo » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:33 pm

Where I live, it was "GReenwood"!



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mtburb
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by mtburb » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:44 pm

Wyandotte's was "AVenue".


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Turkeytop
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Turkeytop » Tue Jul 03, 2018 9:53 pm

Back in those days, CKLW carried a lot of Ads from Detroit. Many of the phone numbers there were WOodward.



Arthur Mometer
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Arthur Mometer » Thu Jul 05, 2018 9:41 pm

Wikipedia has a list of exchange names. They ring true in that every one I remember is listed as a possible exchange name.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Telephone_exchange_names

They weren't changed to all numbers overnight. Gradually, new numbers and new exchanges were introduced as all numbers. Older numbers included the letters. Eventually they went to all numbers regardless of the legacy exchange letters.

Back then, they would consolidate exchanges sometimes in certain areas. 313-774 numbers were once assigned to Linden. They were changed to 313-735 and 313-774 was combined with other 313-77 numbers in Roseville. When area codes were added, exchanges were often completed that had been fragmented in different areas. First, Second, and Third numbers originally went from 2 to 9 and omitted 1 and 0 to avoid problems with long distance and operator access. Fourth numbers many times were limited to 4 possibilities in small exchanges. This also simplified switching repeaters, which advanced a wiper on a rotary switch one number per interruption of the DC voltage by dialing to make calls. Some only had the four or eight contacts rather than ten contacts. As late as the 1970s and 1980s, some exchanges were still accessible by dialing the last 4 or 5 numbers.

Equal long distance access by various companies required electronic switching and touch tones. Mechanically switched exchanges were replaced with electronically switched exchanges.


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Turkeytop
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Turkeytop » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:19 pm

Thanks. That's very informative.

I'm still nostalgic for the old days. The names just gave the exchanges their unique character.

Our current number begins with 451. I've been looking at the keys, trying to see what kind of a name could be made from that. So far, I've got Illinois-1 and Gladstone-1.



organman95
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by organman95 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 10:46 am

In Cheboygan, from a 1970s phonebook I found, the exchange was MA 7-xxxx which I am told was "MA Bell" Some numbers were listed as MA 7-xxxx while others were (current exchange) 627-xxxx. My elderly neighbor said he remembers the letter/name in the phonebook into the early 80s.



fuzzpower
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by fuzzpower » Wed Jul 11, 2018 12:00 am

Don’t forget TYler 8-7100. Used well into the 1990s. We do good work!



Inundated
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Re: Old Telephone numbers

Post by Inundated » Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:46 pm

There is a home remodeling company in Cleveland that has long featured its number in a jingle...

"Garfield 1, 2-3-2-3!"

And that is "has" in the present tense. It still has the same phone number today (216-421-2323) and even changed the whole company's name just a few years ago.

https://www.garfield12323.com



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