Classic Rotary Phones Forum

Telephone Switching => General Switching Discussions => Exchange Names, Area Codes etc => Topic started by: Greg G. on April 03, 2009, 03:55:44 AM

Title: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Greg G. on April 03, 2009, 03:55:44 AM
I forgot all about this.  I found this old dairy bottle several years ago while scuba diving.  I didn't understand at first why only the area code was on there (360 is an area code for part of Western Washington) until somebody told me it was from the days of old crank phones where you told the operator the exchange you wanted.  At least that's what I was told, I'm not sure.

Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Steve K on April 03, 2009, 10:13:46 AM
That is correct but not all the phones on manual exchanges had cranks (magnetos).  Those were often on the rural lines and in the city one usually just had a standard phone without a dial.  Lifting the receiver signaled the operator who then asked what number you wanted and in this case you would have said "360" to get the Bremerton Creamery.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: BDM on April 03, 2009, 03:22:37 PM
Quote from: Steve K on April 03, 2009, 10:13:46 AM
That is correct but not all the phones on manual exchanges had cranks (magnetos).  Those were often on the rural lines and in the city one usually just had a standard phone without a dial.  Lifting the receiver signaled the operator who then asked what number you wanted and in this case you would have said "360" to get the Bremerton Creamery.

Crank/magneto sets were used on local battery (LB) networks. Common battery (CB) networks didn't use crank/magneto for signaling. Since the TelCo powered the network, simply lifting the receiver signaled the operator by causing both a lamp and buzzer combo to go off. Though, some early CB networks did have push-button signaling.

LB obviously lacked common network power. Again, later LB networks did have a light to indicate a subscriber was off-hook. But audible signaling came from you, through the magneto.

That's the way I understand it ;)
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: bingster on April 03, 2009, 03:37:39 PM
Keep in mind that area codes didn't exist until the late 1940s, and weren't actually used until the late 1950s/early '60s.  The "360" on the bottle is the entire phone number of the Bremerton Creamery.  The fact that the number on the bottle matches the later area code is pure coincidence.

There were so few phones in use in that town that the phone numbers didn't have to go very high.  Some places were so rural, that they actually had phone numbers that were only two digits.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Steve K on April 03, 2009, 04:14:56 PM
Those rural two digit numbers were often the ring cadence.  My dad's home number was 8030-R4 which was 4 short rings.  Some of the nearby communities has numbers like 22-F-11 which was one long and one short ring.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Greg G. on April 03, 2009, 04:40:54 PM
Quote from: bingster on April 03, 2009, 03:37:39 PM
Keep in mind that area codes didn't exist until the late 1940s, and weren't actually used until the late 1950s/early '60s.  The "360" on the bottle is the entire phone number of the Bremerton Creamery.  The fact that the number on the bottle matches the later area code is pure coincidence.

There were so few phones in use in that town that the phone numbers didn't have to go very high.  Some places were so rural, that they actually had phone numbers that were only two digits.

You're probably right.  When I researched old bottles to try to date it, that type of embossed labeling on the bottle was used up until the 1930s.  Bremerton in those days would have been very rural.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Steve K on April 03, 2009, 06:58:30 PM
QuoteCrank/magneto sets were used on local battery (LB) networks.

Not all local battery subscribers had magnetos however.  There were 300 sets on local battery circuits as well.  They had a dial blank installed and the batteries were usually housed in a metal box located in the basement or some other location.

Also, two numbers do not necessarily imply very rural.  Some larger cities had low numbers early on.  The modern 3-4 numbering did not become common until after the war although it was introduced earlier.  There were places that used less numbers into the 1960s.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: AtomicEraTom on April 03, 2009, 10:14:09 PM
Our gun store we owned was built in 1853 and was the big game in town when it came to pharmacies from 1865 all the way until 2004 when we bought it from the man who had operated it since 1968, this is also where I found my 554, still operating, but I digress.  Being one of the oldest businesses in town, the original phone number was 19, I beleive all the way until sometime after WWII, guessing the 50's when it went to 414-623-2112, which after 1996 or so became 920-623-2112. 

In the summer house my grandpa built in 58, there is also still an old thermometer which has an exchange number beginning in BRoadway, from Milwaukee, our home town.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Steve K on April 03, 2009, 11:14:21 PM
Tom:

In case you're interested, the Broadway exchange started in Milwaukee sometime in the late 20s I believe.  My Milwaukee phone books from the teens list the early downtown exchange as Main.  About 1948 the Broadway exchange became BRoadway 1 and BRoadway 2.  More were added later.

Steve
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Dan/Panther on April 03, 2009, 11:57:03 PM
Our phone number when I was a kid. Was 3 digits and a letter 324-R, I think the R designated our last name ??

D/P
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: bingster on April 04, 2009, 12:02:23 AM
The "R" marks it as a party line.  Party line numbers included the letters J, M, R, or W.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: AtomicEraTom on April 04, 2009, 12:03:04 AM
Quote from: Steve K on April 03, 2009, 11:14:21 PM
Tom:

In case you're interested, the Broadway exchange started in Milwaukee sometime in the late 20s I believe.  My Milwaukee phone books from the teens list the early downtown exchange as Main.  About 1948 the Broadway exchange became BRoadway 1 and BRoadway 2.  More were added later.

Steve

Come to think of it, this number was BRoadway 1 or 2.  I'll take a pic next time I remember.  Dad's was HOpkins-6-5633.  They were on 60th and Hampton by Capitol Court if you're familiar with M'waukee as we call it (even though we no longer live there, we still sport the old-school accent)  My great-great-grandpa Rosenow was born in 1875 and died in 1975 and lived in the downtown district his entire life in the same house on 3rd and Reservoir just down the block from Schlitz Brewery.  I'd have to ask my dad or grandpa if he remembers the number being Main or if not, what exchange it was.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Steve K on April 04, 2009, 12:28:26 AM
Tom:

In 1915 there was a Gus Rosenow a block away from Schlitz with the number of Lincoln 3763-L.  That was the same exchange as Schlitz.  He's no longer listed in the 40s but there are other Rosenows in the same area with a LOcust exchange.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Dan/Panther on April 04, 2009, 12:45:39 AM
Bingster;
Our phone didn't have a dial, does that make a difference as to the lettering ?
D/P
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: AtomicEraTom on April 04, 2009, 12:56:06 AM
Quote from: Steve K on April 04, 2009, 12:28:26 AM
Tom:

In 1915 there was a Gus Rosenow a block away from Schlitz with the number of Lincoln 3763-L.  That was the same exchange as Schlitz.  He's no longer listed in the 40s but there are other Rosenows in the same area with a LOcust exchange.

GUS ROSENOW!!! I beleive his name was actually August.  That's my great-great-grandpa!!!!!  He owned a trucking company by the name of Rosenow Cartage and Express.  It was actually a pretty successful business and they were wealthy.  They were driving Pierce Arrows during the Depression even.  If you have the time, I'd be interested to see if there's any other of my family members in the book, including my great-grandpa (Gus Rosenow's son in law) Michael Nakielski, who I actually did know personally.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Steve K on April 04, 2009, 01:05:55 AM
Yes, Rosenow Cartage and Express is also listed in 1915 on 3rd Street.  I will have to look up the others tomorrow and PM you with the info.

Steve
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: AtomicEraTom on April 04, 2009, 01:12:42 AM
Thank you so so much Steve!  You made my day!!!
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: bingster on April 04, 2009, 01:18:18 AM
Quote from: Dan/Panther on April 04, 2009, 12:45:39 AM
Bingster;
Our phone didn't have a dial, does that make a difference as to the lettering ?
D/P

Nope, the phone numbers would have been the same on manual or dial.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Dan/Panther on April 04, 2009, 01:23:59 AM
Bingster;
gat anymore great dial faces you can post same size, and format.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: bingster on April 04, 2009, 04:15:36 AM
Here's a rural plate.  I can't take credit for these... I copped 'em from OPW.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: benhutcherson on April 04, 2009, 08:10:02 PM
Up at school, we have an old medicine bag which belonged to "Dr. Koffman", probably back in the '20s. No idea how we came to have it-it turned up in an old filing cabinet.

Anyway, Dr. Koffman's telephone number is listed on one of the pill bottles as being "25". It wouldn't surprise me if he had one of the first telephones in Georgetown. The 1920s date was provided by the local AT&T office, based on the listed telephone number.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: BDM on April 04, 2009, 08:31:04 PM
BTW, while at the telephone show today, I saw a 3 number dial card. Reminded me of this post.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: AtomicEraTom on April 05, 2009, 02:39:53 AM
I have a lot of the old Pharmacy paperwork laying around still with the phone number being 19.  Just wish I had found a phone from there from that era, with a dial card!  I'd have been a happy guy!
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Babybearjs on August 15, 2013, 11:25:38 PM
now, heres something to talk about, since we are talking 3 digits... say your phone prefix is say "377" why cant the phone company program their systems to allow for 4 digit dialing within that prefix only and so on... so if you call a number with the same prefix, all you have to do is dial the last 4 digits to get that other party. BUT, if you call outside that prefix, you have to dial all 7 digits.... would that be quicker???
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: G-Man on August 16, 2013, 12:10:47 AM
Quote from: Babybearjs on August 15, 2013, 11:25:38 PM
now, heres something to talk about, since we are talking 3 digits... say your phone prefix is say "377" why cant the phone company program their systems to allow for 4 digit dialing within that prefix only and so on... so if you call a number with the same prefix, all you have to do is dial the last 4 digits to get that other party. BUT, if you call outside that prefix, you have to dial all 7 digits.... would that be quicker???

Soooo...

If you dial the last three digits (377), what about the other phone numbers in your area that start with a 377 prefix?
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: poplar1 on August 16, 2013, 12:40:21 AM
Quote from: Babybearjs on August 15, 2013, 11:25:38 PM
now, heres something to talk about, since we are talking 3 digits... say your phone prefix is say "377" why cant the phone company program their systems to allow for 4 digit dialing within that prefix only and so on... so if you call a number with the same prefix, all you have to do is dial the last 4 digits to get that other party. BUT, if you call outside that prefix, you have to dial all 7 digits.... would that be quicker???

They can. It's called Centrex, which resembles PBX features but is all Central Office based. 4-digit calls within the centrex group if both the calling line and called line are in the same C.O. Dial 9 + 7D (or +10 D in some areas) for other numbers.

Another way is to order speed call 8 and speed call 30 if you have a real telephone line. You can program up to 38 phone numbers which can be dialed with one or two digits: 2 through 9 and 20-49.

Instructions say to dial # after the code but this is optional so you can also use rotary phones. After the switch sees that you are not going to dial any more digits, it will "time out" and translate your one or two digits dialed to the stored number.

Some key systems also have "system speed dial" whereby you can program a list of phone numbers that can be reached by dialing a number such as 501 through 599.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: G-Man on August 16, 2013, 07:22:44 AM
From my understanding of his question, he wants to be able to dial ONLY the last four digits without using a prefix.

Though there are some exceptions, within a typical 10,000-line exchange, perhaps only a few hundred to perhaps a couple of thousand lines are used for Centrex.

Unfortunately dialing only four digits will access a limited number of Centrex lines in his own group unless a prefix digit is added to access the rest of the lines in his exchange. 

Speed-dialing requires even more numbers in the prefix and typically allows even less access to the rest of the subscribers in his exchange.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: poplar1 on August 16, 2013, 09:46:52 AM
Quote from: G-Man on August 16, 2013, 07:22:44 AM
From my understanding of his question, he wants to be able to dial ONLY the last four digits without using a prefix.

Though there are some exceptions, within a typical 10,000-line exchange, perhaps only a few hundred to perhaps a couple of thousand lines are used for Centrex.

Unfortunately dialing only four digits will access a limited number of Centrex lines in his own group unless a prefix digit is added to access the rest of the lines in his exchange. 

Speed-dialing requires even more numbers in the prefix and typically allows even less access to the rest of the subscribers in his exchange.


In small towns with CDOs (Step-by-Step Community Dial Offices), it was often possible (though not always advertised) to dial only the last 4 digits, even after all phone numbers were standardized as NPA (Area Code) + 7 numbers (or letters + numbers).

All I'm trying to say is that it's possible to program a digital C.O. switch to respond 4 digits. Not that the phone company would ever do that (since Step-by-Step days), other than if you order Centrex. [I did consider ordering 10 Centrex lines + 2 NARS (Network Access Registers which are like trunks on a PBX), but AT&T couldn't find residential NARS in their database. So I would have been charged for Business NARS.]

I wish someone would figure out a way to install on premises a box that could be programmed to do what Babybearjs is asking for: translate xxxx to 377-xxxx (or NPA-377-xxxx for areas with 10-digit dialing). Other phone numbers could be entered by dialing 9 first, or by "timing out" the box would process the 4-digit call by inserting the 377- NXX.

Even better, the box could add the original Central Office Step-by-Step switch sounds heard after most digits dialed.

I don't understand your comment about speed dialing. The two examples I gave do not require extra numbers in the prefix. Rather, only 1 or 2 digits are dialed for C.O. based speed call, or usually 3 digits on an electronic key system. While it's unlikely that any key system would have a 10,000 speed dial list, so that all 10,000 numbers could be reached rather than just the frequently called ones, still, by using a 9 prefix for other numbers, or using timeout after a delay of 3 seconds, 4-digit dialing of numbers in the home NXX would be possible. The 9 would be "absorbed" by the key system (not sent to the C.O.) and the key system would "insert" the NNX (377-) or the NPA + NXX (313 377-) for local numbers.




Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: G-Man on August 16, 2013, 10:19:53 AM
In each example that you have given so far, extra preceding digits (those are prefixes) are needed whether they be for another exchange, Centrex or speed-dialing access, which is contradictory to the original query.

Digit absorbing selectors allowed 4-digit dialing in SxS offices but that is from an earlier era and also is not applicable to Babybearjs original question.

Implementing four digit dialing on a modern switch would paralyze any number of functions and access to a number of service codes and other services by denying it the flexibility to incapacitate a number of the capabilities that are currently available as well as severely inconveniencing the subscribers.

As far as NARS (more commonly known in the industry as Direct Inward Dialing  [DID]) is concerned, it is available for residential service however dealing with service reps is sometimes like pulling teeth when attempting to acquire services that they are unfamiliar with.

You may want to contact Steph Kerman since he has/had it for his PBX at his California home though I am not sure if he also is utilizing it at his NYC or Florida domicile. As I recall he order a block of DID numbers which were surprisingly inexpensive.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: poplar1 on August 16, 2013, 11:26:19 AM
Quote from: G-Man on August 16, 2013, 10:19:53 AM
In each example that you have given so far, extra preceding digits (those are prefixes) are needed whether they be for another exchange, Centrex or speed-dialing access, which is contradictory to the original query.

Digit absorbing selectors allowed 4-digit dialing in SxS offices but that is from an earlier era and also is not applicable to Babybearjs original question.

Implementing four digit dialing on a modern switch would paralyze any number of functions and access to a number of service codes and other services by denying it the flexibility to incapacitate a number of the capabilities that are currently available as well as severely inconveniencing the subscribers.

As far as NARS (more commonly known in the industry as Direct Inward Dialing   [DID]) is concerned, it is available for residential service however dealing with service reps is sometimes like pulling teeth when attempting to acquire services that they are unfamiliar with.

You may want to contact Steph Kerman since he has/had it for his PBX at his California home though I am not sure if he also is utilizing it at his NYC or Florida domicile. As I recall he order a block of DID numbers which were surprisingly inexpensive.



NARS are not the same as DID. They are the paths into or out of the Centrex group, or a combination of in/out, just as on a PBX there are outgoing trunks, DID trunks and/or combination (both-way) trunks. Like trunks, the number of NARS needed is calculated based on the Busy Hour requirement for outgoing (9+) and incoming (Directory Number or DID) calls; we used a ratio of about 7 lines per NAR, and a lower ratio for smaller Centrex groups. If more users try to make a 9+ call, or more outside subscribers are trying to reach either a Centrex user or the attendant, then the calls cannot be processed. As on a PBX, outgoing callers on Centrex would hear Overflow or Reorder Tone (120 IPM or "fast busy.")

I still don't understand how dialing 2, 3, ..., 9 or 21, 22, 23,....., 49 is > 7 digits. Also, there is a Centrex option called "Assume 9" whereby you don't have to dial "extra preceding digits" for a call to numbers outside your Centrex group. And there is never an "extra preceding digit" for calling another Centrex extension if you do have the default option requiring you to dial 9 for outside. (Even CDOs sometimes required an extra initial digit to indicate a call to an exchange other than your own or nearby exchanges.)

While of course you can't dial all 10,000 numbers of a given office (C.O.) with Speed Call 8 and Speed Call 30, they are very useful features that can usually be added to your residential C.O. line's feature package at no additional charge. Since 10-digit dialing is mandatory wherever there are area code overlays (thanks to FCC regulations), having a bin of 38 speed dials *is* "convenient" and something I would not give up on my 5ESS line.

Both the DA selectors and Centrex examples were given only to show that, both then and now, the technology allows 4-digit dialing, even if the phone company won't do it. Since most features start with * (or 11 on rotary phones), or can be dialed without the * or 11 using timeout (call forwarding universal is *72, 1172, or 72 and wait for fake dial tone), there would be no "severely inconveniencing the subscribers."

DID numbers are assigned in blocks of multiples of 20. A 100-number block can be had for about $20 a month. (This is in addition to the DID trunk charge.) The Centrex lines themselves, without the NARS, are much cheaper than 1FBs (business lines) or trunks. However, the NARS can be about $40 each. Unlike DID numbers, CNTRX numbers don't always have to be in blocks. Also, they can be assigned with different NNXs in the same C.O. and still allow 4-digit dialing, so long as the 4-digit numbers are not duplicated. (You can have 243-2368 and 212-3126, for example from the Gresham Rd. 1AESS, but not 243-2368 and 212-2368.)

Some Key System vendors order Centrex lines with almost a 1:1 ratio of NARS and lines. The cost ends up about the same as for business lines. However, hunting ("rollover") on incoming calls is tariffed as Call Forward Busy instead of Hunting. While Hunting may cost an additional 50% per line charge, call forward busy cost is negligible or free. If business lines are $50 each, then for 10 incoming lines in hunt, you'd save over $200 a month.

Call Forward Busy and Call Forward Don't Answer are marketed here on residential (non-Centrex) lines as part of a voice mail package. However, they can also be ordered for $1 per month each (or free as part of a feature package). I have both set up to forward to my cell phone.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: G-Man on August 16, 2013, 03:25:02 PM
Quote"I still don't understand how dialing 2, 3, ..., 9 or 21, 22, 23,....., 49 is > 7 digits."

The question posed is about dialing ONLY FOUR DIGITS to call (all) other subscribers in and exchange without first dialing a prefix.

Since you have to dial a number ahead of the four digits, then they are by definition a prefix. I am only answering his question as to what is practical.

There are  a number of schemes, that are not practical in a regional or national front that could be implemented but would handicapped the bigger routing picture for a number of reasons.

They could be discussed further but a new topic should be started since a discussion about dialing with more than four digits is not on topic and Centrex is even further off the chart.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Babybearjs on August 17, 2013, 02:04:49 AM
the question must really be a stickler... I understand what everyone is saying... the whole idea was for convience sake but then this world has gotten too crowded... maybe it would work better if we had designed our cities like villages and left everything small... then 4 digit dialing could work... only allowing for 9999 people to live in 1 section at a time. then, I could be phone number 2097 and you could be phone number XXXX.... and every section would have it own exchange and the exchanges would be numbered from 100 to 999. oh yeh, and you had to live in the same section of town I did to use the 4 digit dialing or you had to dial the regular 7 digit number...  :'( (I must be crazy! ;D)
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Babybearjs on August 18, 2013, 12:00:56 AM
OK, Enough of this... back to the 3 digit dialing.... What ever happend to..... 411???, 611, etc. I remember when you used to be able to call information at 411... repair at 611 and the central office at a regular number that rarely ever changed... what happend to all that?? now you have to call info at a 1-800 number and repair the same way... what ever happend to simplicity?? thats what all this chatter is about, isint it??? I was told by a friend at church who used to be a CO tech that the CO could be programmed any way you wanted to be.... so, why don't we start all over starting with "1". that could be the first phone number.... what do you all think of that????
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: poplar1 on August 18, 2013, 03:31:59 PM
411 and 611 still work here when calling from a landline for Directory Assistance and Repair. On a Verizon cell phone, 611 gives you their customer service.

I agree with your CO tech friend.

In Centrex, we reused the same 2 codes for dial dictation that had been used with the 701 PBX by having Bell point those codes to unpublished Centrex line numbers. We had to create different codes (without * or #) for other features because at the same hospital, we were still using many rotary multi-line phones. Call Forward Universal, for example, which was *74, could now be dialed as either *74 or 274. It didn't matter if there was a 274 NNX in Atlanta, because to reach that 274-xxxx you would dial 9 first (or, after about 1996, 9 + 10 digits). Since this was a larger Centrex group shared by Ga. Tech, you had to dial 5 digits instead of 4, but they were all 4-xxxx (for 404-894-xxxx) or 3-xxxx (for 404-853-xxxx) or 6-xxxx (for 404-206-xxxx); that's why 2 was chosen. As long as you don't create numbering conflicts, you can be as creative as you wish.

1=may have been the intial number of the 4-digit code used for dial dictation

2=* as an initial digit for feature codes

3= 404-853- Centrex numbers (3-2477 for example)

4= 404-894- Centrex numbers'

5= not used. Reserved for future expansion of Centrex, where only the 3rd digit of the NXX needed to be assigned as a 5--it could be 805 or 895 or 225, whatever was available at the time.

6= 404-206- Centrex numbers

7=not assigned

8= Old Long Distance State network at Courtland St. 8 + Area Code + 7D or, for state phones, 8 + a 3-digit NXX C.O. code which did not match the NXX  Bell used (For example, to call the Governor's office from Savannah, you could dial 8+222-1776 rather than 9+1+404-656-1776.)

9= Calls to outside (+ 7 digits to 404 and +10 digits to 770 Atlanta Suburbs; later +10 required for all)

0= Attendant at Ga. Tech


In fact, when you program a PBX, you can set up shortcuts in dialing by creating your own dialing plan. We programmed a Nortel Option 11 so that when you dialed 5 + a number between 01 and 48 (522 for example), you reached one of the 48 State Patrol Posts, rather than having to dial 9 + 10 digits for local posts or 91+ 10 digits for long distance locations. Dialing 2xxx translated to 9-404-624-2xxx to reach nearby Centrex lines  that weren't on the PBX. (Note that this resulted in *fewer*digits dialed, not more.)

While Nortel won't allow conflicting codes like 30 and 301, on Mitel, this is not a problem either.

Or, you can submit to the FCC and AT&T and require, from your PBX, 9 + NPA + NXX + xxxx= 11 digits for every local call or 12 digits for long distance calls, even to frequently called locations of your same organization.

It's also a good idea to program the switch to translate 911 to 9911. From a PBX, if dialing 9 gives you an outside line, then if not reprogrammed, it would send only " 11" to the CO.

Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Babybearjs on August 19, 2013, 12:45:52 AM
does anyone know why pacific bell and mountain bell scrapped their 611 number and went to a toll free #?? (pac-bell and centurylink) it seems that ever since all the CO's went digital that these numbers were lost...what were they thinking?? isint a 3 digit number easier to remember then a toll free number? or is this all a result of the "CELL" phone? (I'd put the guy in a cell for inventing that!) see what happens when people are allowed to run amuck!
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: G-Man on August 19, 2013, 01:56:41 AM

How do you propose to allow contact with other exchanges when only four-digits are allowable?
If all of the numbers were assigned to the subscribers then you would not be able to dial an access or area code.

Also, Pacific Bell did not "scrap" 3-digit calls including those to 611 repair service. They did assign toll free numbers for those calling from other areas or cellphones since a three digit service code is applicable to only the local exchange from which it is called.


Quote from: Babybearjs on August 19, 2013, 12:45:52 AM
does anyone know why pacific bell and mountain bell scrapped their 611 number and went to a toll free #?? (pac-bell and centurylink) it seems that ever since all the CO's went digital that these numbers were lost...what were they thinking?? isint a 3 digit number easier to remember then a toll free number? or is this all a result of the "CELL" phone? (I'd put the guy in a cell for inventing that!) see what happens when people are allowed to run amuck!
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: poplar1 on August 19, 2013, 01:16:15 PM
There's no getting around 7- or in many places 10-digit dialing (or even 11 where 1 is required as an initial digit even for local calls), if you are talking about a phone connected directly to a POTS line. Even places like the one the milk bottle came from were changed to area code + 7 numerals once they could be reached directly (DDD=Direct Distance Dialing) from anywhere in the U.S.

However, though not often advertised, in some places, you could still dial less than 7 digits within the same C.O. because it was more economical to add Digit Absorbing Selectors than to have 5 selectors + 1 connector. Even in the late 60s, you could dial 71-xxxx instead of 761-xxxx from my house to reach local numbers.
You could also dial 7653- instead of 753- to reach numbers in West End. The first 6 was absorbed (once but only once) by the 2nd selector.

A family friend's grandmother who lived in the West End area of Atlanta said her number before dials was "West 315." To call her, you would have asked the operator to give you "West 315." In 1931, when a Step-by-Step dial C.O. was installed, her number changed to "RA ymond 0315." When 7-digit numbers were standardized in 1955, it changed to "PL aza 3-0315."

On the other hand, if you are setting up your own phone system, you have the flexibility to create a dialing plan: you can have single digits for room service, 4 digits for other extensions, even have it *translate* abbreviated numbers to whatever the C.O. requires, whether 7, 10 or 11 digits.

If you are programming a PBX, or setting up a Centrex dialing plan, you might choose 9 as the code for reaching a trunk or NAR (for calling outside). In that case, you would not have any extensions beginning with 9. Zero (0) might be used to reach the onsite attendant. This would limit the number of extensions to 8000 instead of 10,000 if you were using 4-digit extension numbers. If you wanted more than 8000, you could use 5-digit extensions.

In the Adamsville Centrex, one of our CSRs allowed Bell to assign numbers in the 404 699-9xxx range. While they could dial some other numbers in the group by dialing 4 digits, they couldn't dial numbers in this range with 4 digits, because dialing 9 indicated you wanted to make an outside calls. To reach these extensions from within the Centrex group, you had to dial 9, 404-699-9xxx.
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: Babybearjs on August 21, 2013, 05:20:10 PM
interesting thread... anyway, Centurylink, also known as qwest, or better yet, Mountain Bell... does not have a 611 repair number... they still offer the 411 information, I think its now 1-411 but the main numbers that are used here are 211, which is a community help line and a 711 number, and of course, 911.... but to get centurylink repair, you have a toll free number.. has the phone company downsized so badly that they only have a dispatch service for all the states they cover now??
Title: Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
Post by: markosjal on March 01, 2018, 02:31:29 AM
Quote from: Brinybay on April 03, 2009, 03:55:44 AM
I forgot all about this.  I found this old dairy bottle several years ago while scuba diving.  I didn't understand at first why only the area code was on there (360 is an area code for part of Western Washington) until somebody told me it was from the days of old crank phones where you told the operator the exchange you wanted.  At least that's what I was told, I'm not sure.

360 was not one of the origiibnal area codes. 360 was added in Washington where all numbers were previosly 206. Eastern Washington was 509.

All original Area codes had a 1 or 0 as the second digit.   

Mark