Author Topic: Older Phone Numbers?  (Read 2645 times)

Offline oldguy

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Older Phone Numbers?
« on: November 30, 2015, 09:37:37 PM »
I have been trying to make my own dial cards for the vintages of my phones & the area I live in, using my phone number. I live in Grass Valley CA & my prefix is 268, so I was figuring it would be something like AMherst 8, or COlfax 8 (2 of Ma Bell Officially Recommended Exchange Names for 268) & (being who I am, my personal choice would have been BOzo 8) but wanted to find out for sure. So I went to the research library for Nevada County in Nevada city. I found 1959 & 1961 phone books, figuring the change from word prefixes to number prefixes would have been around then. I was very surprised by what I found. I have attached a page out of the 1959 phone book covering Grass Valley White Pages & found these weird phone numbers, they seem to range from single digits to alpha-numeric with the letter in the middle or the end, see attachment. I have also attached a copy of the 1961 Yellow pages for a much larger area of northern CA, see attachment. The yellow pages show the older 4 digit numbers for the small town of Gridly (Gridly 5671) I assume you couldn't direct dial that number form out of the Gridly area. T&G Cleaners in Orovile has a phone number LEnox 3-1663. A cleaners in Grass Valley (at the top of the page) has a 273-7105 phone number. It looks to me like Grass Valley never had word prefix exchanges but went straight to seven digit numbers from what they had, so I can't make dial cards like I had planned. they didn't even have standard 4 digit phone numbers. Has anybody seen this style phone numbers like seen on the Grass Valley White pages?  I have gotten vintage phones with 4 digit numbers on dial cards layered under the one currently showing but never like the ones in the grass valley white pages. Any information on what the numbers & letters symbolize would be appreciated.  Sorry about the poor quality but anything better got a "security error".
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 09:42:43 PM by oldguy »
Gary

unbeldi

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2015, 10:07:15 PM »
Some places indeed never used central office names, and that doesn't include just small towns, where it wasn't needed, but even larger cities served by independent telephone companies.

The number/letter combinations you do mention are very common, these are party line designations with code ringing if there are digits after a letter. Some places also had a combination of an automatic exchange for the town center and manual exchanges for the surrounding areas, where special numbering plans were in use to facilitate dialing from an automatic exchange line to a manual line.  All this was far from uniform, each local telephone company designed their own numbering and dial plans.

After WW-II, when AT&T designed the North American Numbering Plan, the push was for all offices, large or small, to migrate to a 2L-5N numbering system, or simply to 7N (NXX-XXXX) in preparation for eventual Direct Distance Dialing, but that took a long time in many places, and wasn't complete until the 60s.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2015, 10:09:12 PM by unbeldi »

Offline TelePlay

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2015, 07:44:47 AM »
This topic has two links that may be of help to you.

http://www.classicrotaryphones.com/forum/index.php?topic=14749.msg152951#msg152951

This link, within the TEN Project link

http://tenproject.cloudapp.net/tensearch.aspx

is interactive where you can dial in you location to see what numbers, and exchanges, have been reported by those who submitted numbers.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 07:46:39 AM by TelePlay »

Offline G-Man

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2015, 09:13:12 AM »
In 1962, Grass Valley had dial service provided by a Western Electric 355A step switch with a 273 office code and was located within the 916 area code.
 
Your prefix (268) didnít exist at the time but you can still make up a fictitious prefix if you wish.
 
I see that there were incoming selectors, indicating that calls were direct-dialed from outside the community either from adjacent communities, operator originated, by DDD, or by all of the above.
 
Most likely it had been cutover from manual/magneto switchboard service only a couple of years earlier. I would have to go to the warehouse to check the older Pacific Telephone exchange data books to pinpoint exactly when it was cutover and what type of switchboard was being used prior to dial service being introduced.
 
In 1983, the community was being served by a Western Electric 1ESS electronic office and now a Nortel DMS is switching calls.
 
Gridley appears to have been served out of either Biggs or Live Oak. The jpegs of the directories are not legible enough to be more specific, but as unbeldi has already commented, the use of those types of numbering formats were very common.
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 09:18:09 AM by G-Man »

Offline persido

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2015, 02:04:46 PM »
Hey there Gary, I love making my own cards, I think it adds to the phone, don't get wrong nothing is better than an original card, but most the phones I come across are usually missing the dial cards, I posted a few samples from the info from your post, I hope it inspires you.

Scot
« Last Edit: December 01, 2015, 02:10:33 PM by persido »

Offline persido

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2015, 02:12:42 PM »
Hey there Gary, I love making my own cards, I think it adds to the phone, don't get wrong nothing is better than an original card, but most the phones I come across are usually missing the dial cards, I posted a few samples from the info from your post, I hope it inspires you.

Scot
I had 3 others, but the site will not let me post them, I have reduced the size down to more than 1/2, and still no go.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 12:21:58 PM by persido »

Offline andre_janew

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2015, 06:46:13 PM »
Perhaps it thinks the numbers and letters on the cards are giving away government secrets.

Offline oldguy

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2015, 07:30:51 PM »
Of coarse, spy's always use phone collector terminology to encrypt their messages. that's what this website is mainly used for, right? I may have seen "Classic Rotary Phones Forum" mentioned in one of the Spy vs Spy cartoons in an early MAD magazine ;-) Thanks unbeldi, John & G-Mam for the technical information, you guys do your research. Thanks Scot for the dial card, I printed it & put it in a WE 302. thanks andre_janew for the well needed humor, you guys are great! Thanks again.
 
Gary

Offline persido

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2015, 12:22:47 PM »
This is the one I wanted to post.

Scot

Offline oldguy

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2015, 02:43:06 PM »
Thanks Scot, I downloaded it. Can you make one that is AMherst 8-6483 (my phone number) & a blank one for me to mess with? Does anybody make a punch for the side notch? I have an 1 1/2" punch for dial cards
« Last Edit: December 02, 2015, 04:03:52 PM by oldguy »
Gary

Offline persido

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2015, 03:10:50 PM »
Here you go Gary.

Scot

Offline oldguy

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Re: Older Phone Numbers?
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2015, 04:07:31 PM »
Thank you Scot.
Gary