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

Re: Old Party-Line Arrangements
Mon, 7 Feb 2005 20:51:38 EST

In a message dated 7 Feb 2005 06:08:45 -0000, John Levine
<> writes:

> Only on manual exchanges where you saw a lot of numbers like 1234J, or
> it was just spelled out, e.g. my mother's phone number in Bell
> territory in Vermont in the 1930s and 40s was six two ring three.
> (Not that she ever needed to use it since the operator knew her and
> would reroute calls, e.g., "your mother's playing bridge at the
> Cliffords' tonight, shall I ring her there?")

The letter usually used in manual exchanges were J and W on two party,
with R and M added on four-party. (Lines with more than four parties
had other conventions.)

However, I lived in Konawa, Oklahoma, in the early 1950s and it was a
small step-by-step office with terminal per line. In offices with
terminal per line, an additional digit did identify the party and
ringing current to be applied. (It also meant there was no effective
means of intercept when party lines were regrouped.)

Single party lines occupied the 2XX number series (my office number
was 234) -- all three digits. Party lines were assigned numbers in the
4XXX series (first three digits identified the line, fourth digit
designated the party and ringing to be applied). The four digits were
written in a single block.

Terminal-per-station became almost universal, of course, because of
the problems with terminal-per-line and a party digit.

Wes Leatherock

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