TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Octothorpe (Digest Reprints from 1988 and 1995)]

Re: Octothorpe (Digest Reprints from 1988 and 1995)]

Paul Coxwell (
Mon, 30 May 2005 22:35:52 +0100

> from CCITT recommendation E.161 (Arrangement of Figures, Letters and
> Symbols of Telephones and other Devices that can be used for Gaining
> Access to a Telephone Network) as revised for the Blue Book:

> 3.2.2 Symbols
> ...
> [drawings, with angle between horiz. and vert. strokes, length of
> strokes, and length of protruding nubbies labelled alpha, b, and a
> respectively]
> in Europe alpha = 90 degrees with a/b = 0.08 (looks funny to a
> N.A.ican)
> in North America alpha = 80 deg. with a/b = 0.18

The symbol will be known as the square or the most commonly used
> equivalent term in other languages.*
> *... alternate term (e.g. "number sign") may be necessary...

> I suppose it's useful to have a translatable term. That approach
> worked for "star", but it seems to have failed here. Does anyone refer
> to '#' as a "square"? Anywhere? Enquiring minds want to know...

British Telecom likes to call it "square," and uses the term in many
system prompts, e.g. "Dial the telephone number followed by square."

They do use hash as well. For example when calling into BT's U.K.
direct service or using the euivalent card service from within Britain
you'll hear the prompt "Dial your card number and PIN followed by the
hash key."

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