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Our Numbered Days:
The Evolution of the Area Code

Atlantic Magazine, by Megan Garber

Original Article

Posted By:LittleHoodedMonk, 2/14/2014 12:45:36 AM

In the mid-20th century, in response to the United States’ rapidly expanding telephone network, executives at the Bell System introduced a new way of dialing the phone. Until then, for the most part, it was human operators—mostly women—who had directed calls to their destinations. Dialing systems had reflected this reliance on the vocal cord. Phone numbers weren’t numbers; they were alphanumeric addresses, named after phone exchanges that encompassed particular geographic areas. The Elizabeth Taylor movie Butterfield 8 gets its name from that system: The Butterfield exchange served the tony establishments of Manhattan´s

Comments:
A fun read down rotary lane. I remember "party lines´ and once met and dated one of the prettiest woman, an operator who had to dial my number from a hotel out-of-state. Another operator recognized my voice (what are the odds) having graduated with her four years before in high school. Oh, pet peeve. Impossible almost to get a person´s phone number off white pages of the Internet (without some charge thrown it).

      


Post Reply  

Reply 1 - Posted by: bubber, 2/14/2014 1:09:52 AM     (No. 9731793)

Similar stories #1...four digit dial for local in Ball Ground, GA...I think it was Mrs. Greene who owned that small exchange...

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Reply 2 - Posted by: Charactercounts, 2/14/2014 2:56:48 AM     (No. 9731836)

Our phone exchange was VIrginia when I was a kid. A relative from out-of-town went crazy trying to reach my dad. repeatedly getting a wrong number--he had written the phone number down as VA-, using the postal abbreviation for the state of Virginia.

Then, of course, he dialed 827 instead of 847.

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Reply 3 - Posted by: PChristopher, 2/14/2014 5:26:20 AM     (No. 9731871)

it was human operators—mostly women—who had directed calls to their destinations.

Was it really necessary to point out that the operators were mostly women? Did it really add anything vital to the story? I´m certainly glad you resisted temptation and didn´t write: executives at the Bell System - mostly White Anglo-Saxon male oppressors - introduced a new way of dialing the phone.

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Reply 4 - Posted by: bugboy, 2/14/2014 6:36:15 AM     (No. 9731902)

BR-549

Anyone?

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Reply 5 - Posted by: RobertJ984, 2/14/2014 7:17:10 AM     (No. 9731942)

#3 Why don´t you want the truth printed? The purpose of putting it in the story is many in America have no idea what a phone operator was

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Reply 6 - Posted by: Gorzabozo, 2/14/2014 7:52:29 AM     (No. 9732000)

#4: Junior Sample is on vacation. Try again later, but that 1972 Lincoln may be missing by then.

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