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Who's idea was itomit Q and Z on the telephone dial?

Started by Robert Gift, January 22, 2023, 09:29:20 PM

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Robert Gift

Should be 1 ABC  2 DEF  3 GHI  4 JKL  5 MNO  6 PQR  7 STU  8 VWX  9 YZ    O
Then I could have gotten 356-3991 35-PIZZA for a pizza restaurant in which I had small ownership.
I'd take an educated guess but am unqualified.
When something is found the last place checked, go there first.
Lighted Princess® telephones are our favorites!

MADhouseTelephone

I have a few AE dials with Z above the zero, but Q can be too easily confused with O or 0. Look closely at this one:
ADavid, MADhouse Telephone

SUnset2

The "who" is W. G. Blauvelt.

From: "A History of Engineering and Science in the Bell System, The Early Years (1875 - 1925)" Prepared by Members of the Technical Staff,
Bell Telephone Laboratories, M.D. Fagen, Editor.  Page 578:

"The most difficult problem came from the need for a different numbering plan if machine offices were to dial calls into either a manual B board or into another machine office. As the manual system evolved to the point where a number of central offices were required, it had become the custom to assign a name, usually with local geographic significance, to each office. Thus each customer's number consisted of a name to designate his office and four digits to indicate one of the roughly 10,000 jack positions, or lines, in the office to which he was connected. The problem in calling from a machine office was that dials were intended to handle digits and had no provisions for handling names. A few small cities using step-by-step systems employed five digits, one of which was for all practical purposes an office designation. However, it was easy to determine that the growth expected in large cities would ultimately require a seven-digit number. This had two disadvantages. Some tests made in the early 1900s indicated that this would be unsatisfactory because the short-term memory span of many people could not handle seven digits and many dialing errors due to memory lapse might occur.  This, in itself, was considered a sufficient reason for not using all-number dialing and, in addition, if dialing from machine to manual office was to be accomplished without passing the call by voice at the machine office, it would be necessary to simultaneously change all numbers within a city to the digital form as soon as one machine office was cut into the exchange network. This was an additional powerful deterrent.

The problems just dealt with in detail were some of the reasons why J. J. Carty, at the time of his 1910 paper, favored only partial automation since the interconnection between dial and manual offices could be handled with fewer complications if the A operator instead of the customer did the dialing.

However, the solution to the seven-digit problem proved very simple when it was discovered in 1917 by W. G. Blauvelt of the American Telephone and Telegraph Company. 104 He proposed that positions on the dial be used to designate letters as well as numbers. The first or 1 position on the dial and the last or 0 position would remain unchanged. Each of the other eight positions would be imprinted with three letters as well as the number, ABC being associated with 2, DEF with 3, etc., as shown in (a) of Fig. 6-54. The letters Q and Z were omitted because of their little use. Each phone number would be made up of the first three letters of the office name followed by four digits. This meant that the information to be remembered in transferring from the telephone directory to the dial was very nearly the same as for manual calling. No change in existing numbers in manual offices was required except in those few cases where the first three letters or two or more office names translated into the same digits. Aside from these cases, no directory changes were required, but as an aid to dialing, the first three letters in an office name were ultimately capitalized as shown in (b) of Fig. 6-54."



Robert Gift

Quote from: SUnset2 on January 23, 2023, 12:56:30 AMThe "who" is W. G. Blauvelt.
"... The letters Q and Z were omitted because of their little use."
Thank you, 782!
"Little use"?  What about QUeens, New York and ZElienople, Pennsylvania?
Should have been left in and used.
I'd take an educated guess but am unqualified.
When something is found the last place checked, go there first.
Lighted Princess® telephones are our favorites!

markosjal

Keep n Mind that local numbers generally did not start with "1" so there was no need for a Letter there.also Local numbers did not have a "1" (or "0" for that matter)  as the second digit (until recently)

That meant that as the letters were used for the first and second Digits like CApitol, PRospect there was never a need for an alpha version of 1
Phat Phantom's phreaking phone phettish

tubaman

Here in the UK the later GPO dials did have 'Q' but never 'Z'. I'm not sure when 'Q' was added as it is missing on earlier dials that I have. 
Numbers starting with '1' were all service numbers- operator, directory inquiries, faults etc - so no letters on that.

MMikeJBenN27

Not sure about eliminating "Z", maybe because it never became widely used, as dialing it would have made the call go to the Operator instead of the subscriber, but "Operator" was only, as far as I know, eliminated for a time in Canada in response to a law being passed that required everything to be in both English and French.  It could be safely assumed that everybody knew "0" was for operator, so the word "Operator" was eliminated, rather than producing both English and French dial faces.

Mike

Contempra

Quote from: MMikeJBenN27 on January 23, 2023, 02:37:24 PMNot sure about eliminating "Z", maybe because it never became widely used, as dialing it would have made the call go to the Operator instead of the subscriber, but "Operator" was only, as far as I know, eliminated for a time in Canada in response to a law being passed that required everything to be in both English and French.  It could be safely assumed that everybody knew "0" was for operator, so the word "Operator" was eliminated, rather than producing both English and French dial faces.

Mike

Yep Mike , even here in Quebec , " 0 " were only for the ' Operator ' in french or english and for those who still have a residential telephone line, I believe that this is still the case despite the fact that there are far fewer residential lines in favor of cell phones..
Denis