Telephone exchange names

central office nametelephone exchangetelephone exchange namenamed2L-4N or 2L-5NANdrewBUtterfield 8DOMinionexchange nameexchange names
A telephone exchange name or central office name was a distinguishing and memorable name assigned to a central office.wikipedia
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Telephone number

phone numbertelephone numbersphone numbers
Over the course of telephone history, telephone numbers had various lengths and formats, and even included most letters of the alphabet in leading positions when telephone exchange names were in common use until the 1960s.

List of original NANP area codes

original area codesoriginal 86 area codesoriginal numbering plan areas
In the 1940s, the Bell System developed the North American Numbering Plan, a system of initially 86 allocated area codes which were used at first only by switchboard operators to route trunk calls between plan areas.
This included a three-digit central office prefix, dialed as the first two letters of the local central office name and one digit, and the four-digit subscriber station number.

PEnnsylvania 6-5000

telephone number
For example, under this system, a well-known number in New York City was listed as PEnnsylvania 6-5000. At least four popular songs use old telephone exchanges in their names: "PEnnsylvania 6-5000" (PE 6-5000), recorded by Glenn Miller (the inspiration for that song, the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, still holds that phone number as +1-212-736-5000); "BEechwood 4-5789", by The Marvelettes; "LOnesome 7-7203 by Hawkshaw Hawkins; and "ECho Valley 2-6809" by The Partridge Family. PEnnsylvania 6-5000 was later spoofed in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Transylvania 6-5000 and the horror/comedy film Transylvania 6-5000.
The named Pennsylvania exchange served the area around Penn Station in New York.

All-number calling

In the United States, the demand for telephone service outpaced the scalability of the alphanumeric system and after introduction of area codes for direct-distance dialing, all-number calling became necessary.
All-number calling (ANC) is a telephone numbering plan that was introduced by the Bell System in the United States starting around 1958 to replace the previous system of using a telephone exchange name as the first part of a telephone number.

Telephone exchange

exchangescentral officeexchange
A telephone exchange name or central office name was a distinguishing and memorable name assigned to a central office.
During this transition period, once numbers were standardized to the 2L-4N or 2L-5N format (two-letter exchange name and either four or five digits), it was possible to dial a number located in a manual exchange and be connected without requesting operator assistance.

North American Numbering Plan

Area codeArea codesArea code(s)
In the 1940s, the Bell System developed the North American Numbering Plan, a system of initially 86 allocated area codes which were used at first only by switchboard operators to route trunk calls between plan areas.
This was already common practice, because the system of using the initial letters of central office names did not assign letters to digits 1 and 0.

Direct distance dialing

direct dialdirect distance dialdirect distance dialling
Eventually, starting in the late 1940s, all local numbering plans were changed to the 2L-5N system to prepare for nationwide Direct Distance Dialing.
Customers of the ENglewood 3, ENglewood 4 and TEaneck 7 exchanges, who could already dial New York City and area, were able to dial 11 cities across the United States, simply by dialing the three-digit area code and the seven-digit number, which at the time consisted of the first two letters of the central office name and five digits.

Beechwood 4-5789

At least four popular songs use old telephone exchanges in their names: "PEnnsylvania 6-5000" (PE 6-5000), recorded by Glenn Miller (the inspiration for that song, the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, still holds that phone number as +1-212-736-5000); "BEechwood 4-5789", by The Marvelettes; "LOnesome 7-7203 by Hawkshaw Hawkins; and "ECho Valley 2-6809" by The Partridge Family. PEnnsylvania 6-5000 was later spoofed in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Transylvania 6-5000 and the horror/comedy film Transylvania 6-5000.
The song's title is derived from the now-defunct use of telephone exchange names in telephone numbers.

All-figure dialling

all figure dialling01609All Figure Numbering
Similar developments followed around the world, such as the British all-figure dialling.
All-figure dialling was a telephone numbering plan introduced in the United Kingdom starting in 1966 that replaced the traditional system of using initial letters of telephone exchange names as the first part of a telephone number.

S. I. Hayakawa

S.I. HayakawaHayakawaSamuel Ichiye Hayakawa
In some cities such as San Francisco, opposition was organized; the opposition group in San Francisco was called the Anti Digit Dialing League, of which S. I. Hayakawa was a notable member.
In the early 1960s, he helped organize the Anti Digit Dialing League, a San Francisco group that opposed the introduction of all-digit telephone exchange names.

Transylvania 6-5000 (1963 film)

Transylvania 6-5000Transylvania 6-5000'' (1963 film)1963
At least four popular songs use old telephone exchanges in their names: "PEnnsylvania 6-5000" (PE 6-5000), recorded by Glenn Miller (the inspiration for that song, the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City, still holds that phone number as +1-212-736-5000); "BEechwood 4-5789", by The Marvelettes; "LOnesome 7-7203 by Hawkshaw Hawkins; and "ECho Valley 2-6809" by The Partridge Family. PEnnsylvania 6-5000 was later spoofed in the Bugs Bunny cartoon Transylvania 6-5000 and the horror/comedy film Transylvania 6-5000.
The title is a pun on "Pennsylvania 6-5000", a song associated with Glenn Miller and referring to the now-archaic system of telephone exchange names where the first two characters of a telephone number were expressed as letters: "Transylvania 6-5000" stands for "TR 6-5000" which devolves to 876-5000.

BUtterfield 8

1960 filmButterfield Eight
The title of BUtterfield 8, the 1935 John O'Hara novel whose film adaptation won Elizabeth Taylor an Academy Award for Best Actress, refers to the exchange of the characters' telephone numbers (on the Upper East Side of Manhattan).
An insulted Gloria, whose dress is torn, takes Liggett's wife Emily's (Dina Merrill) mink coat to cover herself and scrawls "No Sale" in lipstick on the mirror, but she orders her telephone answering service, BUtterfield 8, to put Liggett through if he calls.

Artie Shaw

Artie Shaw and His OrchestraShawArtie Shaw Orchestra
Artie Shaw and His Gramercy 5—Artie Shaw named his band the Gramercy Five after his home telephone exchange in Greenwich Village.
He named it Artie Shaw and the Gramercy Five after his home telephone exchange.

Telephone numbering plan

Area codeCalling codearea codes
In the United States, the demand for telephone service outpaced the scalability of the alphanumeric system and after introduction of area codes for direct-distance dialing, all-number calling became necessary. Several systematic telephone numbering plans existed in various communities, typically evolving over time as the subscriber base outgrew older numbering schemes.
Telephone exchange names

Telephone keypad

keypad12-key telephone keypaddial pad
Telephone keypad
Originally, they referred to the leading letters of telephone exchange names.

Phoneword

mnemoniclettersphone word
Phonewords
Telephone exchange names

North American Numbering Plan expansion

until it was split in 1958
From 1947 to c. 1960, the initial two digits of the central office code were mapped to two letters of an often locally significant name, the central office name or exchange name.

Hotel Edison

Edison BallroomEdison Hotel
It attempted to mimic the telephone number PEnnsylvania 6-5000 of the Hotel Pennsylvania by using the telephone exchange name CIrcle 6-5000.

555 (telephone number)

555555 telephone number5-5-5
In television shows made or set in the mid-1970s or earlier, "KLondike 5" or "KLamath 5" reflects the old convention for telephone exchange names.

Push-button telephone

10- or 12-button touch-tone telephonespush-buttonpush-button dialing
As direct distance dialing expanded to a growing number of communities, local numbers (often four, five or six digits) were extended to standardized seven-digit named exchanges.

Area codes 514 and 438

514 and 438(514) and (438)514
In 1898, exchange names ("Main", "Westmount", "Uptown" or "East") were added before the number.

The Flintstones

FlintstonesFlintstoneHoppy
After spending a brief period in development as The Gladstones (GLadstone being a Los Angeles telephone exchange at the time), Hanna-Barbera settled upon The Flintstones, and the idea of the Flintstones having a child from the start was discarded, with Fred and Wilma starting out as a childless couple.

Butterfield Market

It is named for the old telephone exchange name for the neighborhood, Butterfield 8.

Zenith number

WX numberZenithZenith" X-XXXX
In that era, direct-dial numbers were commonly published with telephone exchange names followed by digits, such as in the telephone number "PEnnsylvania 6-5000".