Saturday, October 24, 2015

Getting to a Smarter Phone [1940s]

From our collection of old postcards ...

Were you around when these kinds of cards were sent out?
(Late 1940s)
Our old card illustrates some history of the telephone. You will probably know that originally there were no dials on phones ... you just picked up and asked an operator to connect you to another person. Then, dials came along but only had numerals on them. As the system expanded engineers decided phone numbers needed to be a series of 7 digits, but it was hard to remember 7. Thats when they decided to add letters to the dial and create "exchanges". The exchanges were given names and then the first two letters were used as part of the phone number. Example ED5-1234. ED was the Edison exchange. The engineers said it was easier for folks to remember ED5-1234 than 3351234. Our old postcard was sent out by New England Telephone Company so they could figure out who needed new phones with letters on the dial. Later, of course, the exchange names were given up, but with the letters still on the dial we could do "smart" numbers. For example, an interior decorator might license the phone number 1-800-724-6837 but advertise it as the more memorable phoneword 1-800-PAINTER.

More photos from our files ...

October 16th -- Late afternoon
Looking over Puget Sound from Seattle
How do you like the sun rays?
October 20th Dusk
Looking over Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains

American Sea Foods
Fishing Vessel American Triumph
Docked at Pier 90
Seattle, Washington
October 17th -- Early evening
Info on American Triumph from

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
January, 2008
We are wondering what, if any, effect Hurricane Patricia
had on this beautiful seaside resort.
This is our photo taken on visit 2008.
Patricia struck the coast of Mexico on Oct 23, 2015.
Thank you for stopping by John's Island.


  1. Hello John, wonderful postcard. Some day I will buy one of those new Iphones. I love your sky shots and the shot of Puerto Vallarta. I hope everyone is safe in Mexico. Have a happy weekend!

  2. Great post for the day, John, as always!! Such beautiful skies! I do hope that Puerto Vallarta hasn't suffered from the storms!! Enjoy the weekend!!

  3. Sorry John. We lived in my paternal Grandparents upstairs during WWII on "Daytons Bluff above the river, tracks and St. Paul Airport. I was born in 41 and my parents built a home were we moved when I was ten. My childhood playground was the as I described. I took up photography at a much later age. My dad often picked up a neighbor on Saturdays who was a Yard Engineer for the Milwaukee and I often got to ride on the steam engine in the "Yard" where I stoked the boiler, tooted the whistle , and even got to take an engine onto the "roundtable" into the "shed." Needless to say I was envied all lot by my childhood friends....:)

  4. I remember those days of the old rotary dialed phones. Haha! It would take a looong time to call anywhere, especially internationally. And if you made a mistake....sigh...

  5. Oh, remembering those old dial phones! That was a long time ago now, and some youngsters have no recollection of them, but I do. You brought back a whole host of memories with this one. And yes, I love those sky pictures. :-)

  6. I too remember the dial phones but I didn't know they started out with numerals only. Fun seeing how things used to be. Lovely series of photos too John!

  7. Phones sure have come a long way!!
    Sometimes I wish they were still like that. : )

  8. We had the phone with a crank the rang a bell. You had your own ring as two shorts or a long and a short or a short and a long. It was a great local system.

  9. I would like to believe that I am much to young to remember those old phones,but,unfortunately,I do remember them well. Love the sunset scenes.

  10. Enjoyed your photos! That's an interesting piece of telephone history I had never heard!

  11. An interesting old postcard. It brings back memories of my grandparents phone when you had to ring the exchange, only three numbers and a letter. I can still remember theirs - 972R. There was no dial and you got the exchange by turning a handle on the side of the phone once, then when your call finished you turned it twice. I seem to remember it was a party line (more than one subscriber). Now that was many moons ago, haha.
    Lovely photo's as usual.


  12. I remember using a rotary phone. Then, the push button phone seemed so modern! Now, I use a smartphone and have the world at my fingertips.

  13. Hi John, I do believe in mental telepathy :)

    I'm awed by the sunrays photo ... I wonder if I ever get to see the sun from Seattle ... If you haven't picked a card for me yet, I'll be happy to receive a postcard with a flower. Have a nice week ahead!

  14. Its hard to imagine how far the phone as come im glad im of this era. Im glad you liked the snail mail book enough to purchase one, and enjoyed my post on snail mail.

  15. Gosh, I remember when my grandmother's number was Edgewood 7 and some other numbers. I also remember being on a party line, and wow that was a nightmare! Love the sunray shot. Have a great day!

  16. Very beautiful post, fascinating skies!


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