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Author Topic: Widow Rented Rotary Phone for 42 Years
Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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If we wanted to call the people on our party line we didn't dial their number, we dialed 1191. Both their phone and our phone rang. Anytime someone called either of household, both phones rang. I had forgotten that part.... The rings were different -- one long then short, the other short then long or something like that.

I have no idea how it worked with more than two parties on the line.

I lived in Reading then, too. It had about 89,000 people at the time.

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Bill
The Red and the Green Stamps


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quote:
Originally posted by WildaBeast:
quote:
Originally posted by Chloe:
Her excuse: "It was one of those old phones, and I didn't know how to call the number."

Well maybe it was an old phone like this. [Wink] I'd have no idea how to place a call with one of those.
Christie is right; you'd give the operator the number you wanted, and in the phone company office a cable would be connected between an outlet in the wall with your number and the number you wanted to call.

And it was not that long ago that not every community had dial telephones. Although my town did, as far back as I can remember, some of the surrounding towns did not adopt them (and the corresponding seven-digit numbers) until the 1960s.

Thanks.

Bill

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Sara at home
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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Ah, how much I have forgotten.....five digit phone numbers. Then seven, which started out as two letters plus the phone number, then was switched to just using the letter's numbers (FRanklin was 37). Now we dial ten numbers because we have to use the area code even for local calls.

Does everyone still say "dial" a number or is that just us old folks who actually dialed phone numbers?

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Assume that all my posts will be edited at least once. Dyslexic -- can't spell, can't type, can't proofread.

Posts: 8317 | From: Reading, PA | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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Kismet, thanks for the info. I couldn't remember when you could first buy a telephone, so I must have owned one since 1985, not around 1980 like I first thought. Hard to remember the exact date back that far.

My paternal grandparents had a phone that looked much like the one WildaBeast linked to. I remember when they didn't even have a phone. Anyway, to operate that one, you had a list of everyone's ring tone, and you turned a crank to make the ring. One turn was short, two turns without pause was long. My grandparents' ring was short, short, short, long. Of course, you did have to connect to the operator to call anyone not on your line. I seem to remember to get the operator, you had to turn the crank three times without pause, then wait and wait and wait and wait and . . .

Sara, my best friend and I were on a party line together. We did the 1191 thing all the time. Drove our parents crazy. At that time there was no such thing as a one-party line. Now, I'm pretty sure only private lines are available, but it could be that party-lines still exist in remote areas.

Would you believe that there are locations in Oklahoma that have no telephone service?
quote:
"I tell people all the time I don't have telephone service," Hannah said. "At first, they think I'm joking. Then I tell them I'm serious. Then they think I'm lying. But it's true. We have no telephone service. Most people take that for granted.

"I think we're the last people in Oklahoma without a phone."

Amazingly, they aren't.

Cervus, I'm with you and your folks. The only extra I have is an answering machine. I got so tired of getting promo calls from the the telephone company that I finally asked, "What part of 'I do not want caller ID and those other options in the package' do you not understand?" Then I requested to be removed from the contact list. When we got our cell phones several years ago, the salesperson was reading off all the options that came with it and automatically checking the "yes" box before I could stop her. When she finally paused I asked, "But what if we don't want all of that?" She had to go back and redo it. Serves her right for coming on like gangbusters and not giving us a chance to get a word in edgewise.

Wow! This thread has brought back many memories. [Smile]

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

Posts: 4020 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
callee
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


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In the town we just moved to, 2 hours above canada's largest city, toronto, the owners of the clothing shop next door told us how when they first opened their shop about 5 years ago - i.e. after the dawn of the new millenium -- for the first 6 or 7 months Bell gave them a party line for their business! they had to share it with a few other people. The complained bitterly to Bell, saying how a party line a) should not exist any more, b) was totaly unsuited to business use, but Bell kept claiming they had "no other lines available for asignment." Who knows how long they would have been stuck in that situation, but they made friends with a guy who turned out worked for Bell, and when he heard their problem he went to work for them, and miraculously new lines were "found" to be available!


meanwhile, to whomever was wondering about the family's calculations of what the woman paid, could it be that the huge number they give is adjusted for inflation? So that the $36 she spent in a year in 1966 is being counted as several hundred today? I mean, I'm not math guy, but just a thought.

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a moment for old friends now estranged, victims of the flux of alliances and changing perceptions. There was something there once, and that something is worth honoring as well. - John Carroll

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Hero_Mike
Happy Holly Days


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Party lines were par for the course in university residence in the early 90's. Even though you had unique incoming numbers, if your "party pal" was on the phone, you could receive calls or call out.

Pulse service (the tick-tick-tick style dialling that rotary phones make) is still available here in Canada because tone service still costs money, and the regulations stipulate that you have to keep providing the service, and cannot force someone to pay for an upgrade.

In around 1976, we had a Bell technician come to the house and change the phone from being hard-wired, to having a modular RJ-11 jack. Around then, phones started becoming available for sale just about everywhere. Some time in the mid-80's Bell no longer provided telephone rental, or at least that's when we bought a phone instead of using the rotary-operated "monster" they had previously provided.

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"The fate of *billions* depends on you! Hahahahaha....sorry." Lord Raiden - Mortal Kombat

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I saw Mommy kismet Santa Claus
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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Signora, it varied from place to place. That was the year mentioned in the article. But I know in the booming metropolis that is Clarksville, Arkansas, we owned our own family phone in 1983. We were not given the option to rent when we moved there that year, I don't know if we owned or rented before that, I only know we owned then because my father bought me my very own phone that year and I thought I was pretty cool.
Posts: 2115 | From: Texas | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Signora Del Drago
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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kismet, I must plead guilty to not reading the article because I heard this story on the early morning news. Either they didn't mention the date you could first buy telephones from AT&T, or in my still-sleepy state, I missed it.

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"This air we're breathing. Oxygen, isn't it?"~I’mNotDedalus, impersonating Vincent D’Onofrio.|"Sometimes trying to communicate can be like walking through a minefield."~wanderwoman
"Give people a break. It's not easy doing a life."~Joshua Halberstam

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DaGuyWitBluGlasses
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I think our Vista 200 was rented:
http://www.fix-1.com/produits/images/grandes/Vista200-G.jpg

But i can't say for sure, I'm certain we did make monthly payments on it, but maybe it was jsut financed *-)

Posts: 201 | From: Toronto, ON | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
blucanary
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Hero_Mike:

Pulse service (the tick-tick-tick style dialling that rotary phones make) is still available here in Canada because tone service still costs money, and the regulations stipulate that you have to keep providing the service, and cannot force someone to pay for an upgrade.

I'm not sure if we ever talked my grandmother into getting tone service. She actually thought her house wouldn't work with it. I finally took my mothers bill over and showed her the $0.89 charge for tone dialing. Her response was, "I'm not paying for that!" *smack forehead* I think she did because I think I heard a tone the last time I was there.

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MaxKaladin
The First USA Noel


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I grew up in a small town in Texas and my family had a party line until the late 70s. My father ended up getting a private line because my mother's cancer was getting worse and he didn't want to risk someone not getting off the line if he needed to call an ambulance. I think there were still people on party lines until the 80s sometime.

I remember having rotary phones until the early 80s when we finally got a touch-tone phone.

My father has about a half-dozen old phones just like WildaBeast linked to. He restored one and has it hanging on the wall as a decoration and the rest are in his storage room waiting for him to get around to restoring them.

Posts: 716 | From: San Antonio, TX | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
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