Author Topic: 3-digit phone # on bottle  (Read 6995 times)

Offline Brinybay

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3-digit phone # on bottle
« 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.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 12:48:48 AM by Brinybay »
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Offline Steve K

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #1 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.

Offline BDM

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2009, 03:22:37 PM »
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 ;)
« Last Edit: April 03, 2009, 03:27:46 PM by BDM »

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Offline bingster

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #3 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.
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Offline Steve K

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #4 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.

Offline Brinybay

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2009, 04:40:54 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.
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Offline Steve K

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2009, 06:58:30 PM »
Quote
Crank/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.

Offline AtomicEraTom

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #7 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.
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Offline Steve K

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #8 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

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #9 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 ??

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Offline bingster

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #10 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.
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Offline AtomicEraTom

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2009, 12:03:04 AM »
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.
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 Steve K

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #12 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.

Offline Dan/Panther

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #13 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 ?
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Offline AtomicEraTom

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Re: 3-digit phone # on bottle
« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2009, 12:56:06 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.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2009, 01:00:41 AM by AtomicEraTom »
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.