Log in

No account? Create an account
Andrei in the office


Andrei's Universe

One man's journey from infinity to nothingness

Previous Entry Share Flag Next Entry
shrek the halls, kitty play, puss in boots

Technology DidjaKnows - Area Codes

I used to have memorized a list of major city area codes. It was easy because they were all clumped with similar numbers

212-NYC 312 Chicago 412 Pgh 512-Austin
213-LA 313 Detroit 413 W.Mass
214-Dallas 314 St.L.

Coming across a page in wikipedia... I now understand why the big cities were all clumped.

The Area Code system started back in the days of Rotary Dial.

Instead of pressing a button to create a combination of two notes to identify a number, you turned a dial which would click the line for a count equal to the number. Thus "212" sounded like:
"Fwip-click-click, fwip-click, fwip-click-click"

As a result, the original area codes were passed out to cities based on population to minimize the amount of clicks you had to dial to get thru the the city.

So by clicks:
5 6 7 8
212 NYC 213 LA 214 Dallas 215 Phila
312 Chicago 313 Detroit 314 St. L.
412 Pgh. 413 W. Mass
512 Austin

In the initial plan, 605 (SD), 704 (NC), 803(SC) were the original losers with 21 clicks to dial (0 was 10 clicks).

With the advent of tone dialing, the reason an area code is assigned now is to reduce confusion among customers. This is why you get areas with 206, 425, and 360.

So nifty technology history.

  • 1
In those days it was not uncommon for phones in semipublic places to have a lock. Essentially a clamp with key that prevented you from turning the rotary dial thus preventing you from making outgoing calls while still allowing incoming calls.

If you clicked the hang up mechanism at the right speed once for one, nine times for nine etc you could still place a call.

Interesting, thanks for sharing!

When I was growing up I always felt deprived because I was the only kid I knew who didn't have touch-tone dialing. My parents had pulse dialing until the day the phone company discontinued it, because they didn't want to pay the extra $1/month or whatever.

My hobby wasn't memorizing area codes, but rather memorizing zip codes of obscure towns around the country that we have visited.

What I find truly disconcerting is the fact that I have aged to a point where the mention of a rotary dial phone must be accompanied by an explanation (for the youngins) of what it was.

(Deleted comment)
See, ya learn something new every day...

In those days when there was only one phone in a household, corded and rotary as it was, where was the phone typically located?

I seem to remember it being more of a kitchen placement...would that be the norm? And if so, why the kitchen instead of the living room?

> why the kitchen instead of the living room?

Because telemarketers would always be calling at dinner time.

Probably, because 'back in the day', the woman was almost always home, and could usually be found in the kitchen. Cooking, cleaning, making bread, the washing machine was usually (if it was in the house) in or near the kitchen, ironing, etc.

  • 1