TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Old Party-Line Arrangements

Re: Old Party-Line Arrangements

Joseph (
Mon, 07 Feb 2005 10:11:07 -0800

On Sun, 6 Feb 2005 11:14:23 -0000, Paul Coxwell
<> wrote:

> I've gleaned from various sources, including some old Digest posts,
> that in the U.S. there were various methods employed, including up to
> 10-way party lines with the last digit of the number selecting tip or
> ring and the appropriate ringing cadence.

This is generally the case only where the equipment used was "terminal
per line" as opposed to "terminal per station." In terminal per line
set ups the last digit always indicated the cadence of the ringing
with 10 possible combinations for both tip and ring side of the line
so that it might be possible to have 5 different ringing cadences
depending on what your number is e.g. the last digit of 1 on the ring
side of the line you'd have a single ring, 2 two rings, 3 one long and
a short, 4 one long a short and a long, and 5 being five short rings.
Repeated for the remaining digits on the tip side.

In terminal per station you could have any ringing combination but it
was determined at the central office (switch.)

> I've also seen references
> to tuned ringers with ringing applied at a different frequency for
> each party, and to party-line numbers having an additional digit
> (coded as a letter) added the end of the regular number.

Mostly used by independents rather than by the Bell System.

> When it comes to outgoing calls once DDD and CAMA had arrived, I've
> seen references to different ringer wiring combinations to enable the
> equipment to test for originating party, and also in the earlier days
> of DDD that in some places (maybe small independents?) callers had to
> dial an ID digit (e.g. 1x + NPA + number).

On two-party lines whether it was tip or ring determined whether
either party would be charged and you could use AMA. With four party
you used CAMA and an operator would come on the line to ask what your
number was.

Independents used "ID" digit.

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: "Re: AT&T Inventions Fueled Tech Boom, And Its Own Fall"
Go to Previous message: "Re: Old Party-Line Arrangements"
May be in reply to: Paul Coxwell: "Old Party-Line Arrangements"
Next in thread: Dave Garland: "Re: Old Party-Line Arrangements"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page