Vintage Phone Numbers

Freshness Warning
This article is over 3 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

Recently Read

Get More

Subscribe | Archives

Recently

Feature voting is harmful to your product (Feb 7)
There's a lot of problems with using feature voting to drive your product.
Encouraging 1:1s from other managers in your organization (Jan 4)
If you’re managing other managers, encourage them to hold their own 1:1s. It’s such an important tool for managing and leading that everyone needs to be holding them.
One on One Meetings - a collection of posts about 1:1s (Jan 2)
A collection of all my writing on 1:1s
Are 1:1s confidential? (Jan 2)
Is the discussion that occurs in a 1:1 confidential, even if no agreed in the meeting to keep it so?
Skip-level 1:1s are your hidden superpower (Jan 1)
Holding 1:1s with peers and with people far below you on the reporting chain will open your eyes up to what’s really going on in your business.
Do you need a 1:1 if you’re regularly communicating with your team? (Dec 28)
You’re simply not having deep meaningful conversation about the process of work in hallway conversations or in your chat apps.
What agenda items should a manager bring to a 1:1? (Dec 23)
At least 80% of a 1:1 agenda should be driven by your report, but if you also to use this time to work on things with them, then you’ll have better meetings.
Handling “I don’t have anything to talk about” in your 1:1s (Dec 21)
When someone says they have nothing to discuss, they’re almost always thinking too narrowly.

Subscribe to this site's feed.

Contact

Adam Kalsey

Mobile: 916.600.2497

Email: adam AT kalsey.com

Twitter, etc: akalsey

Resume

PGP Key

©1999-2019 Adam Kalsey.