TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: More on San Francisco and Oakland Numbering

Re: More on San Francisco and Oakland Numbering
Mon, 24 Oct 2005 20:17:16 EDT

In a message dated 24 Oct 2005 13:29:03 -0700,

>> Thanks to the clipping files at the History Room of the Oakland Public
>> Library, I have been able to pin down the date that San Francisco and
>> Oakland went fully to 2L-5N numbers: August 10, 1947, a Sunday, at 12
>> midnight.

>> The Tribune referred to it on Saturday, which would have been August
>> 9, of course, but it also is clear from the context that the
>> switchover activities began on Saturday night. Either the Tribune's
>> style considered the day to begin at 12.01 am, or there was some
>> confusion when the story was edited.

The standard nationwide time for making changes was 3:01 a.m. Eastern
Standard Time, which would be 12:01 a.m. Pacifc Standard Time, still
on Sunday. (A day does began at 12:01 a.m.; it's not just a style

>> In other words, there was, for a time, 2L-5N-1L dialing to some
>> exchanges!

> I always wondered if that existed. When did party line letters go
> away and replaced by individual dialable numbers? On SxS there was a
> coding schema where one digit differed for each party, all others the
> same.

I lived in a small place that had terminal-per-line SxS. Terminal per
line means that the line is designated by a number; an additional
number is required to desginate the party and the number is listed in
the directory that way without any hyphens or other distinctions.

All the party lines were in the same connector group.

Later terminal-per-station became the standard, where each terminal on
the connector designates an individual station. So a two-party line
would require two terminals (and two directory numbers), a four-party
line would have four terminals (and four directory numbers) and an
eight-party line would require eight terminals (and eight directory

This much simplified intercept and regrouping. In most offices any
terminal could be jumpered to any ringing bus in the terminal, so it
could be the ring party at one time, after regrouping or other changes
it could be made the tip party, and in offices with full selective
four-party ringing any terminal could be connected to any of the
ringing buses -- postive tip, positive ring, negarive tip, negative

[ ... ]

>> It has more than 333,000 unfilled telephone orders, also a second
>> place record.

> Bad problem throughout the U.S., took years to clean up. Many people
> who get service were stuck with party lines, partly as a result of
> inadequate CO capacity, not just local loop capacity. I wonder if
> they were afraid of slow dial tone during busy periods and the use of
> party lines was a way of rationing out service capacity. I wonder if
> in those years they added new manual exchanges as a temporary fix
> since cord switchboards were a lot cheaper and faster to install than
> dial machines.

The shortages went back to the Great Depression of the 1930s, when
capital spending was necessarily reduced and indeed with the loss of
customers and lack of construction there was little need for capital

The outside plant was usually the limiting factor--an individual
copper pair was needed for each line. After World War II (during
which construction and capital spending was almost non-existent) there
were many cable routes that had not been reinforced since before the
Depression. When the end of the war came, there were suddenly new
housing developments, new business and industrial construction,. and
heavy new demands for service. Their magnitude was such that the
sudden change for little demand to furious demand could not be met
overnight, both because of the finite funds available for capital
spending and the very real limits on production capacity.

> The famous Levittown communities had to make do with temporary corner
> pay phones for a while.

So did many other new developments all across the U.S.A.

Wes Leatherock

Post Followup Article Use your browser's quoting feature to quote article into reply
Go to Next message: Mark Roberts: "Re: More on San Francisco and Oakland Numbering"
Go to Previous message: USTelecom dailyLead: "Ericsson to Buy Marconi's Telecom Equipment"
May be in reply to: Mark Roberts: "More on San Francisco and Oakland Numbering"
Next in thread: Mark Roberts: "Re: More on San Francisco and Oakland Numbering"
TELECOM Digest: Home Page