TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Oakland Calif Conversion From 6 to 7 Digit Dialing?

Re: Oakland Calif Conversion From 6 to 7 Digit Dialing?
28 Sep 2005 13:25:48 -0700

TELECOM Digest Editor noted in reply on this topic:

> [TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Chicago was 3L-4N throughout the 1930's
> and 1940's, (that is, from the start of automated calling through the
> final cutover of same.) The original third letter (as in ALBany and
> ROGers Park) became the first number in the new 2L-5N system, (which
> is to say ALBany became ALbany-2, KEDzie became KEdzie-3 and ROGers
> Park became ROgers Park-4.

When Philadelphia converted from 3L to 2L-N, the third dial pull was
definitely NOT the third letter in almost all cases. That is, WAVerly
(928) became WAverly 4 (924) and WAverly 7 (927), WALnut (925) became
WAlnut 2 (922), BARing (227) became BAring 2 (222), BALdwin (225)
became BALdwin 9 (229). In other words, in effect almost everyone got
a new phone number. I suspect they did that intentionally to make the
change clear.

I forgot the year Philadelphia changed, but it was very close to or
even within WW II. At that time the Bell System absorbed the
competing Keystone Telephone company (which served only business
customers with flat rate service and some outlying towns) and had to
create more lines from them.

In 1943, Philadelphia cut over to the first #4 Crossbar for toll
switching. I'm surprised this happened during the war, but perhaps it
happened because of the war and the need for faster switching and
efficiency. Someday I'll have to search newspapers if there's any
mention. There is no index of those years and it requires a manual
search through the microfilm. The above 3L to 2L merited only a very
brief newspaper mention the day after and nothing the day before, to
my surprise.

(To show how priorities changed, the introduction of new el cars in
1960 was full front page major news, with numerous side bar articles.
Suppliers of car components had ads in the paper. In contrast, a 1982
replacement of subway cars had far less coverage, still front page,
but much smaller and no sidebars. New buses get no coverage today but
in 1954 got a full page ad by the transit company.)

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: In Chicago, the third 'L' nearly always
became the first 'N' _except_ in a few cases from pre-dialing days
when there was a conflict. Then, some other first 'N' was chosen. As
certain exchanges filled up with customers but geography dictated
retaining the same name (such was the case with GRAceland-2 and a few
years later GRaceland-7; Graceland Cemetery on the north side of town
is a major place; quite a historical spot.) But generally they very
cleverly worked around those problems, as with MIChigan-2 and MIDway-3
and MItchell-6. (MIChigan is both the lake and the street downtown
while MIDway Plaisance is the main thoroughfare criss-crossing the
University of Chicago. PAT]

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