My grandparents phone number when they lived on their farm was 4375 N 2 long n a short crank, R pick up ear piece and crank handle on the side for operator Ruth & Fred Kubberness lived in Arlington, SD
Americans who were to encounter the problem of 7-digit numbers sooner that any other nation, found a mnemonic solution to the problem (it was generally believed back then that 7-digit numbers were hard to memorize): the first three digits were replaced with letters some word started with. For technical reasons no telephone number in the US started with 1. For historical reasons zero was always used to call the operator. As a result, any American telephone number could start with any figure but 1 and 0.
Mnemonic rules were in use in London and Paris until mid-1960s. At first Americans adopted the LLL-NNNN format (three letters, four numerals). After becoming aware that it was running out of words beginning with the needed three letters, New York introduced the LLN-NNNN format in 1930 with all the other cities following suit in 1947–48.
Automatic dialing was possible with a rotary dial telephone set. Prior telephone models were directly connected to the operator or had a magneto (a rotating handle on the right hand side spinning which you also connected to the telephone girl). Telephones with a rotary dial were a rarity. They were only installed in high-ranking officials’ offices (200 lines in the Kremlin and 20 lines in the Russian Council of People’s Economy). This sort of a telephone set was called “vertushka” (“whizzer”). These days this word is remaining in the Russian language to denote a direct government phone in a kingpin’s office, although modern “whizzers” have either a push-button dial or none at all.
Starting in the 1940s, area codes were first used by long-distance operators to establish long-distance calls between toll offices. The first customer-dialed direct call using area codes was made on November 10, 1951, from Englewood, New Jersey, to Alameda, California.
There were many different kinds of phones and it depended on your income and your location.
The Bell System was the system of companies, led by the Bell Telephone Company and subsequently by AT&T, which provided telephone services to much of the United States and Canada from 1877 to 1984, at various times as a monopoly. On December 31, 1983, the system was broken up into independent companies by a U.S. Justice Department mandate.
The colloquial term Ma Bell (as in "Mother Bell") was often used by the general public in the United States to refer to any aspect of this conglomerate, as it held a near complete monopoly over all telephone service in most areas of the country, and is still used by many to refer to any telephone company. Ma Bell is also used to refer to the various female voices behind recordings for the Bell System.
So what does our ancestors phone numbers tell us about them?
I have a coppy of a link above that will help you find out more information about your ancestor's phone number.
When I was a teenager these are the phones we had hanging on the wall in our kitchen Mom made sure that one had an extra long cord on it.
I really enjoyed researching the phone & number. I learned a lot my ancestors.
My grandmother Dorothy who lived in Stockton, CA had the phone number HO (HOward) 31833
My Uncle Ed & Aunt Dolly's was HO (HOward) 520 & in later years 1405
My Aunt Dot & Uncle Jim's was 209-478-7948
There's wonderful discoveries in every little corner just have to shine the light to find them
Good luck in your treasure hunting.