(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘telephone history

“It’s not the size of the nose that matters, it’s what’s inside that counts”*…

Dimensions.com is an ongoing reference database of dimensioned drawings documenting the standard measurements and sizes of the everyday objects and spaces that make up our world. Created as a universal resource to better communicate the basic properties, systems, and logics of our built environment, Dimensions.com is a free platform for increasing public and professional knowledge of life and design…

Dimensions.com is an ongoing public research project founded by architect Bryan Maddock and continues to be developed through the architecture practice Fantastic Offense.

The measure of man’s manufacture: Dimensions.com

(See also “Not too big, not too small… just right” for an earlier look at a similar initiative…)

* Steve Martin


As we realize that the ruler rules, we might it was on this date in 1951 that the first long distance direct dial call was made (from Englewood, New Jersey, to Alameda, California) in the U.S.– area codes became a reality. The North American Numbering Plan had been published in 1947, dividing most of North America into eighty-six numbering plan areas (NPAs). Each NPA was assigned a unique three-digit code, typically called NPA code or simply area code. These codes were first used by long-distance operators in establishing long-distance calls between toll offices. By the early 1960s, most areas of the Bell System had been converted and DDD had become commonplace in cities and most towns in the United States and Canada. By 1967, the number of assigned area codes had grown to 129. There are currently 317 geographic area codes in the United States and an additional 18 non-geographic area codes, totaling 335 US area codes.

Area code handbook by the Bell Telephone Company of Pennsylvania issued in 1962 to promote the newly introduced direct distance dialing (source)

Sneaker Net Goes Global…


An art project that began three years ago by prompting people to embed USB thumb drives in structures has caught on like wildfire.

Dead Drops, as the project is called, now has more than 1,200 locations worldwide where anyone with a computer and a USB port can anonymously plug in and upload or download files — sharing who they are or what they care about or love.

The premise: cement a thumb drive into a wall with just the port protruding, and leave its location with photos in the Dead Drops central database.

According to its creator, German artist Aram Bartholl, the project is a way to “un-cloud” file sharing — that is, remove it from the Internet in a time when governments are spying on the online public.

“Dead Drops is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space,” Dead Drops’ manifesto states…

Read the whole story at Computerworld.


As we skulk toward Bethlehem, we might recall that it was on this date in 1983 that the last phone call was made in the U.S. on a hand-cranked (magneto) telephone system.  In 1981, the local telephone company in Bryant Pond — serving 440 customers (sharing 220 lines), and operating from a two-position magneto switchboard in the living room of owners Barbara and Elden Hathaway– was purchased by the Oxford County Telephone & Telegraph Company, a nearby larger independent company.  A movement called “Don’t Yank The Crank” was organized by David Perham and Brad Hooper in an effort to keep their beloved crank phones.  The effort stalled the transition for two years, but ultimately failed:  the last “crank” calls took place on October 11, 1983, when a modern dial exchange was put into service.  A memorial statue has become a local landmark…




Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 11, 2013 at 1:01 am

There’s always room…


Jell-O ad by Maxfield Parrish

As National Jell-O Week (the second full week of February) draws to an end, “16 Fascinating Facts About Jell-O.”


As we marvel at a dish that’s equally-appropriately approached with a spoon or a fork, we might recall that it was on this date in 1968 that the first-ever 9-1-1 call was placed by Alabama Speaker of the House Rankin Fite, from Haleyville City Hall, to U.S. Rep. Tom Bevill, at the city’s police station.

Emergency numbers date back to 1937, when the British began to use 999.  But experience showed that three repeated digits led to many mistaken/false alarms.  The Southern California Telephone Co. experimented in 1946 in Los Angeles with 116 for emergencies.

But 911– using just the first and last digits available– yielded the best results, and went into widespread use in the 1980s when 911 was adopted as the standard emergency number across most of the country under the North American Numbering Plan.




Written by (Roughly) Daily

February 16, 2013 at 1:01 am

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