TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Old Chicago Numbering

Re: Old Chicago Numbering
Sun, 30 Oct 2005 20:24:41 EST

In a message dated Sun, 30 Oct 2005 14:21:21 CST,

> Very seldom did Ma Bell use SxS for large metropolitan installations.
> They seemed to prefer remaining with manual service until they could
> install 'machine switching' using Panel or later 1Xb.

"Very seldom"? How about Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Tulsa,
Oklahoma City and, of course, much of the Los Angeles area.
Undoubtedly true of many other places as well..

All those had been completely converted to dial by the early 1930s,
perhaps in the 1920s. The first dial office in Oklahoma City was cut
over in early 1921 (using Automatic Electric SxS equipment; Bell Labs
and W.E. had not yet recognized there was a need for such equipment.
The remainder of the city was converted to dial in 1927 or
this time with W.E. SxS equipmenmt. I think the remainder of the
cities mentioned in Texas and Oklahoma had a similar history.

The first XBs in Southwestern Bell territory outside of Kansas City
and St. Louis were 5XBs in smaller towns converting to dial. The
first 5XB in Oklahoma City was the SKyline office, now 751, which
happens to still serve where I live (now ESS of course).

One of the first installations of 5XB in the Los Angeles area was by
the Sunland-Tujunga Telephone Company.

1XB, of course, was intended to be use in metropolitan areas that were
panel. As originally configured it used on panel-type revertive
pulsing -- even when one 1XB office was communication with another 1XB
office. It had no provision for communicating with step equipment,
which is why the 1XB installations in Southwestern Bell territory were
limited to St. Louis and Kansas City.

[ ... ]

> The strangest Ma Bell payphone numbering I ever remember was in Cape
> Cod where some payphones had 5xxx numbers.

Operators' keyshelf bulletins listed the number series used for pay
phones, either an entire thousand series or a partial thouands series.
Rate & Route had similar information for all places in the U.S.A. If
it was a partial series, on a collect call the operator had to go to
inward at the destination city and ask inward whether the particular
number was coin.

The 9xxx series was the most common, with 89xx probably following, but
many places could be found with any number series. In some SxS and
5XB offices the 9xxx series did not exist; that is, there was no
equipment installed for the 9xxx series.

Wes Leatherock

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