TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Party Lines

Re: Party Lines

Jim (
Wed, 15 Mar 2006 10:36:00 -0600

Regarding party lines ... I remember "re-grouping" subscribers in
rural Iowa about 20 years ago for GTE. When one or two party line
subscribers would take the leap to a private line, we would put the
remaining party line members onto another line. This would keep the
party lines full, and if you had the lower cost party line, you at
least had to put up with a full line. Some customers would "play the
system" by waiting for their partymates to upgrade to a private line,
then they would be left alone on a party line. If you weren't one of
the old biddies, this was just great.

We didn't let this happen too often. It meant going out to the field
and changing cable pairs on many folks, and we would sometimes have to
use bridge lifters and bunching blocks in the CO to tie together
various partymates. Of course, we had to keep good records (on paper,
not computer at that time) in order to keep the right ringer
frequencies together and so there wouldn't end up being two of the
same frequency ringers on the same line. This was a case of trouble
waiting to happen. With 4-party lines, you just had to keep track of
who had a 20, 30, 40 and 50 cycle ringers. (We even had 60 cycle
ringers in some exchanges, but that's another post). Early on in my
career, and when I was a kid, I remember 8 party lines. You had the
same ringer frequencies, but four were on one side of the line and
four were on the other side, with the ground as the final ringer
connection (grounded ringing).

Anyway, ringing configurations have been discussed at great length in
previous years on the digest. Lisa's post just reminded me of the
re-grouping we used to do.


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