All-Number Calling

All-Number Calling

All-number calling was a new system of telephone numbers that was phased in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.

Until the 1950s, local telephone numbers consisted of an exchange and a 5-digit phone number. A New Yorker's phone number might be CHelsea 4-5034, which another user would dial (once dial service was available—until the 1930s use of panel switch, phone calls had to be manually connected by a switchboard operator) a two-letter code for the exchange followed by the 5-digit number. When the phone company began running out of memorable telephone exchange names, it tried to replace it with "all-number calling." [ [,9171,939396-1,00.html By the Numbers - TIME ] ] This sparked an intense outcry among urban users, who considered all-numeric calling to be dehumanizing. [John Brooks, "Telephone: The First Hundred Years," 1976.]

Opponents created a variety of organizations to oppose all-number calling, including the Anti-Digit Dialing League and the Committee of Ten Million to Oppose All-Number Calling to pressure AT&T to drop the plan. [Simon Romero. "Now You Need an Area Code Just to Call Your Neighbors." "New York Times," May 7, 2001.]


ee also

* All figure dialling, the United Kingdom equivalent

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