TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: From our Archives: "Recommended" Exchange Names

Re: From our Archives: "Recommended" Exchange Names
28 Mar 2006 08:31:56 -0800

TELECOM Digest Editor wrote:

> A decade ago, Mark Cuccia sent us this list from 'Notes on Nationwide
> Dialing, the 1955 edition.
> In North America, the changeover from letters/names to ANC was in a phased
> process.

Some places switched cold turkey. Some places switched gradually,
such as going from a full name to just the two letters, and then
giving new customers all numbers while existing ones kept their
letters. Some places, like Philadelphia (the last to switch) were

As ANC progressed, some people objected to that and the increasing
computerization of 1960s society. In hindsight, service was far more
manual back then than today. But not all new computer billing systems
worked very well, with many stories of receiving a $1,000,000 bill for
monthly electricity in a small home.

(I personally got burned in those days when I changed jobs within an
employer. My pay was hourly and I switched to a per diem pay, but the
computer kept my old pay rate. So instead of getting paid for 40
hours, I got paid for only 5 hours because I worked 5 days and that
was entered. Was very hard for them to straighten that out, for
months I got "interim" manually prepared estimated checks.)

> Even though we are 'officially' on an ANC basis, there is nothing which
> prohibits one from still quoting their telephone number with the old
> EXchange names ...

Unfortunately, too many people today are too far distant from that
usage and wouldn't understand what you were giving them. In Phila it's
been 25 years since the conversion and that's the newest.

I will note however that just yesterday (March 2006) I saw
construction trucks still marked with DE 3 of the contractor's phone
number. I noticed some newer units had 333 so he finally switched
over, but much of his fleet remains. I'd love to get a picture, but
it is a highway project and no place to park and walk over. (And
they'd be suspicious of me if I were taking pictures and call the

Here and there there's an old building with an old phone number
painted on it and still in use. I saw some in Oyster Bay LI a few
years ago. Some stores still have an old neon sign with their old
style number.

Larger businesses can move or go centrex and lose their original
number over time.

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