Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Old Phones

technology

Old Phones

“Fifty-five per cent of Brits have an old handset or two lying about the place”

see Half of us have old phones STUFFED in our drawers • The Register.

Chuckle. When I read that headline I thought of the phone in my kitchen, circa 1987 (yep, a dialer). We bought it when the little woman and I bought our first house and it stayed with the old homestead until the renovation this summer. Now it’s in our new house. I always use it if I can because the ear-piece is actually comfortable against my ear unlike those hard flat bricks of smartphones… Yes, rounded corners antedate the iPhone.

6 Comments

  1. Michael Rudas

    Back when I was fixing consumer electronics for a living, our main parts supplier had the phone number 668-8696. When he had first started in business, 40 years earlier, it had stared out as Normandy 696—and an operator completed the call. The phone company simply added digits over time. At the time (the early 1970s), you could still dial just the last 5 digits of a number if you were on the 66/NO exchange, too.

  2. kozmcrae

    When I was a kid our exchange was Hamilton. So our number was something like HA7-4312. That’s how I remember phone numbers from the 50′s and 60′s, two letters and five numbers. Sometimes people would use the name of the exchange when giving you their number. So I might have said to a friend, “my number is Hamilton 7-4312″.

    I have no idea where or why the notion of the exchange came from but I think it was there from the beginning of widespread phone use.

  3. Robert Pogson

    MK wrote, “Why on earth does it have letters next to digits?”

    In the old days, Winnipeg was divided into “exchanges” (switch rooms for copper…) and each one had a name as well as a number. When I first lived in Winnipeg, our exchange was “Sunset”, so our number was SU67180 or something. I think it was a memory crutch. Now, brutally, everyone is expected to remember 12 digit numbers. Winnipeg has now run out of numbers so they’ve started a new area code on top of the seven-digit number. It’s progress, I guess. I am beginning to feel glad I am getting old. No one expects me to keep up. ;-)

  4. Robert Pogson

    Nope. We bought it around the time the government corporation that ran telephones was being sold. We had the option to own our own hardware so the phone is ours. It’s solid and I was surprised to learn the system still accepts dial-pulses even after we switched to VOIP. It does not ring however, but we have so many wireless phone extensions beeping that’s no problem. It is very comfortable on the ear.

  5. kozmcrae

    Good Lord, you’re not still paying a monthly rental on that thing, are you!?… Just kidding.

  6. MK

    That’s an awesome phone! Wish I had one of those now. Why on earth does it have letters next to digits?

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