a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Old Timey Memories--Rotary Phones

Sunday, November 29, 2020

Old Timey Memories--Rotary Phones

SUMMARY: ...and calling home while traveling... Jeez you're old!

Backfill: From Facebook discussion on sister's page, Nov 24, 2020. She asked: "You know you're getting older if you remember:(Answer below.)" 
Another friend said, "Rotary phones!" I of course had things to say--

Ericsson Dialog in green
Credit: Diamondmagna, CC BY-SA 3.0
via Wikimedia Commons

When I was traveling for work in the '80s, my company had a special service where are you could call long distance from any phone anywhere in the country billed to our company, instead of having to use your own credit card with whatever phone service served the phone you were using (AT&T or such). You could call home or call my company simply by dialing our service's phone number, dialing in the special access code, and then dialing the number you wanted. 

  • My company’s phone number was 408-980-9898 (yes, I just looked it up on an old business card). 
  • The special phone number was probably something like 800-999-8000. 
  • And the access code was, I don’t know, eight digits, And I’m imagining it was something like 77788899.
That access code might have been only my mind recalling the torture of getting most of the way through the special phone number, then the access code, and then the phone number I was trying to reach, including area code, and then misdialing a digit — On a rotary phone. Yikes. I'd get so frustrated. Or else I'd do it successfully and then the phone of the person I was calling was busy, so I'd have to do it alllll overrrrr agaaaaaain later.

If you're my age, you know how long it took to dial those numbers. If you're much younger--- Check out this video; start at about 4:43 (showing why 0, 9, 8 for example, and the numbers as a whole, were so time consuming) .....   

Wellll... not a rotary phone because it has a blank (nonmoving) dial.
But replace it with a numbered dial and that's what even older rotary phones looked like.
P.S. I own this phone. Two of them, in fact.

Top triptych photo credit: Me--from London, Disneyland, and Lawrence Berkeley Labs.

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