Author Topic: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names  (Read 12602 times)

Offline Phonesrfun

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The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« on: October 28, 2009, 12:01:40 AM »
When I was a kid, our family moved to Portland, Oregon in the early 50's.  Our number was LIncoln-1971.  In 1957 they added a 2 in the front and our number became ALpine 4-1971.  I was kind of intrigued by this, and found the Telephone Exchange Name project at

http://rcrowe.brinkster.net/tensearch.aspx 

This is a searchable database of old exchange names for many US cities.  The search engine is pretty clunky, so if you can live through that, it is a good source.  About a year ago, I was in Portland, and went to the county library and found that there is still a microfilm library there available of the local newspapers going back to the 1800's, complete with an old manual paper card catalog to look up newspaper articles by topic.  That turned out to also be a goldmine to follow through time the advances that the phone company had made throughout time in putting in more and more facilities.

Anyway, I just thought some would find this resource of the exchange name project interesting.



xzzx-TEN Project-xzzx


« Last Edit: August 30, 2014, 01:19:22 PM by TelePlay »
-Bill G

Offline rp2813

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2009, 12:13:40 AM »
I have been to a couple of these sites and agree that one or both are very clunky.  I made as many entries for my area as I could remember.  Interesting how Ma Bell implemented the change from 6-digit to 7-digit numbers for your exchange.  That must have been a big deal.
Ralph

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2009, 12:16:24 AM »
Bill, that's interesting how you remembered the switch from LIncoln to ALpine.  So the numbers changed from a 6-digit to 7 at that time, in your area.  I'll bet it was difficult to remember, or get used to reciting your "new" number.

I have referenced that TenProject web site on many occasions.  It's amazing how many exchange names are listed.  I think the list continues to grow as people add numbers from their own memories.  Whenever I buy a phone with an exchange card I always check this site to see if it's there.  Very often the number will appear from a city or town that is close to the eBay seller that sold the phone.  It's really a good way to track the origin of a phone, assuming of course the card has not been changed.  It seems like many of the old black 500's still have their original cards.  


Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2009, 12:28:56 AM »
One of the things that was always interesting to me is that my grandmother had been a telephone operator since she was a girl.

I have a picture of her at a switchboard in 1927 in Portland.  The event was that during that week-end, LA, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle were all taking turns in making an historic trans-Atlantic telephone call from the US West Coast to London, to inaugurate the opening of trans-Atlantic commercial telephone calls.  She was one of several operators that were involved in setting up the connection that took only 18 minutes start to finish to make, over various land-lines and a radio link.  Unheard of speed at the time.  Once my mother gave me the picture, I had to go to the library to confirm that it did happen, and Yes, it most certainly did.  In fact, the news article ran in the Oregonian and the Oregon Journal newspapers from Friday of that week–end, announcing that it was going to happen, all the way through Sunday, complete with a chart showing the wire route over the US and the radio link over the ocean to England.  They also ran a transcript of the conversation that happened between the high mucky-mucks at the phone company as they made their historic call.

Here is a photo of my grandmother (standing behind the operator seated at the switchboard)  This happened at the end of February, so everyone is in heavy clothing.

-Bill G

Offline AtomicEraTom

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2009, 12:36:28 AM »
Added info to the site :) Dad's was HOpkins 6-5633
I am a lineman for the county and I drive the main roads. Searchin' in the sun for another overload.  I hear you singin' in the wires, I can hear you through the whine, and the Witchita Lineman is still on the line.

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2009, 12:38:27 AM »
Tom:

Great that you added to the database!

-Bill
-Bill G

Offline bwanna

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2009, 06:17:23 AM »
bill, beautiful photo of your granny. what a neat piece of history to have in your family.
donna

Offline McHeath

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2009, 10:04:31 AM »
That's a very cool picture and great family history tale.  Do you suppose that your grandmas job was to make sure the girls in the seats plugged the wires into the right holes?  There seems to be another woman doing the same job behind her.  So some sort of supervisor perhaps? 

Offline Dennis Markham

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2009, 10:17:44 AM »
Bill, you're lucky to have that photo and the story to go with it.  No wonder you have an interest in collecting telephones, it's in your blood!  Thanks for sharing that bit of history and your family photo.

Offline rp2813

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2009, 01:12:27 PM »
That photo looks like a scene right out of "Changeling."  So Bill, was your grandmother wearing roller skates?  I think it was common practice for these types of monitors or supervisors to be cruising up and down the switchboards back in those days.  Not sure if I'm correct on this, but I'm pretty sure those types of switching offices were called "step-by-step" and many of them still existed into the 70's and 80's in the more remote areas until they were upgraded to electromechanical equipment.
Ralph

Offline Phonesrfun

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2009, 01:17:48 PM »
I wish my grandmother was still around to ask her questions.  So, whether she is wearing skates or not, I just don't know.  When I watched the movie "Chengeling", it reminded me of this picture and my grandmother.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2009, 01:19:51 PM by Phonesrfun »
-Bill G

Offline bingster

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2009, 09:16:40 PM »
Way back when, it was common for the supervisor to roam behind the operators in case of a problem, when she would then plug her headest in to the operator's board to help resolve the problem.  Later on, problem calls were switched to the supervisor's own station.
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Offline rp2813

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2009, 07:45:45 PM »
On closer observation (hmmm . . . likely the Ma Bell term for what the supervisors were doing) I don't think anybody was on skates in that picture.  The one supervisor in the background appears to be in heels.
Ralph

Offline foots

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2009, 03:32:56 AM »
I have a sticker on the bottom of my good SC1243 for the Volunteer Fire Dept. in Chappaqua New York. The number is CE8-4422 - does anybody here happen to know what the exchange name was for Chappaqua? It didn't show up on the  exchange name lookup. I'd like to find out so I can get a dial card made up for this phone.
"Ain't Worryin' 'Bout Nothin"

Offline bingster

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Re: The TEN Project - Researching Telephone Exchange Names
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2009, 06:43:13 AM »
Even though a Stromberg wouldn't have been used in the Bell system, the Bell reccommended exchange names for CE were CEdar, CEnter, and CEntral.  It might have been one of those, especially CEntral, which was a very common exchange.
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