Vintage Phone Numbers

Freshness Warning
This article is over 2 years old. It's possible that the information you read below isn't current.

Vintage Hangers

I have a collection of vintage clothes hangers. Sturdy wooden arches hung from a heavy metal hook. Hundreds of them, with all the clothes in my closet hung from them. Like most collections, I didn’t set out to collect them. I saw a few at a garage sale or flea market or something and thought they were interesting, so I picked them up. Over time, I found more and more, until I ended up with a closet full.

Most of the hangers came from dry cleaners or hotels in the 1920s-40s. Because these were advertising products, they often have the name, address and phone number on them, just like the paper wrappers do from your dry cleaner today.

This is where an odd intersection of my love for vintage clothing and my professional life exist. My work with telephony has me dealing with phone numbers all day long, but numbers in those days were different. Phone numbers were four digits long, or sometimes even two or three digits. When more than 10,000 phones appeared, they broke them up into exchanges, each exchange having a name. So "Pennsylvania 6-5000” was actually “PE-6-5000” which translated to the modern telephone number 736-5000.

Some exchanges were so small that neighborhood businesses would just publish two digits. One of the hangers in that picture says “Telephone 58”. That was their phone number: 58.


Your comments:

Text only, no HTML. URLs will automatically be converted to links. Your email address is required, but it will not be displayed on the site.

Name:

Not your company or your SEO link. Comments without a real name will be deleted as spam.

Email: (not displayed)

If you don't feel comfortable giving me your real email address, don't expect me to feel comfortable publishing your comment.

Website (optional):

Follow me on Twitter

Best Of

  • How not to apply for a job Applying for a job isn't that hard, but it does take some minimal effort and common sense.
  • Simplified Form Errors One of the most frustrating experiences on the Web is filling out forms. When mistakes are made, the user is often left guessing what they need to correct. We've taken an approach that shows the user in no uncertain terms what needs to be fixed.
  • The best of 2006 I wrote a lot of drivel in 2006. Here's the things that are less crappy than the rest.
  • Rounded corners in CSS There lots of ways to create rounded corners with CSS, but they always require lots of complex HTML and CSS. This is simpler.
  • Debunking predictions Read/Write Web's authors have some goofy predictions.
  • More of the best »

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives

2

Recently

Physical camera shutter for Cisco Spark Board (Jul 6)
A 3d printable design for a camera shutter for a Cisco Spark Board
My Travel Coffee Setup (Jan 20)
What my travel coffee brewing setup looks like, and how you can build your own for under $100.
Turkey Legs (May 30)
Product naming gone awry.
Speaking for Geeks: Your Slides (Dec 17)
Tips and tricks for creating great slides.
Speaking for Geeks: Writing Your Talk (Dec 14)
Don’t wait until the night before the talk to write it. Crazy, I know.
Speaking for Geeks: Tell a Story (Dec 13)
Telling a story keeps your presentation focused, keeps your audience interested, and makes it easier for you to remember your talk.
Speaking for Geeks: Where to speak (Dec 11)
You've got a great idea for a talk. How do you find conferences to submit it to?
Speaking for Geeks: Getting your session accepted (Dec 10)
Your conference speaking submissions are not getting accepted because they're bad. Here's how to make them better.

Subscribe to this site's feed.

Elsewhere

Tropo
Voice and communications platforms, including Tropo and Phono. Work.
SacStarts
The Sacramento technology startup community.
Pinewood Freak
Pinewood Derby tips and tricks

Contact

Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT kalsey.com

AIM or Skype: akalsey

Resume

PGP Key

©1999-2017 Adam Kalsey.
Content management by Movable Type.