Direct-Dial Coast-to-Coast Telephone Begins Service

Coast-to-coast direct-dial telephone calls began in 1951

On November 10, 1951, mayors M. Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey and Mayor Frank P. Osborn of Alameda, California, carried out a revolutionary phone conversation, conducted from opposite ends of the United States.

The distance between the mayors spanned 3 time zones and an estimated distance of 3,000 miles as telecommunication professionals listened in on the conversation.

Prior to the historic phone call, direct communication between citizens living in distanced places was only an ideal since phone operators were required in making the dial transfer.

Shortly after the implementation of three-digit area codes and automated switching systems, a direct line was no longer an impossibility. These steps revolutionized the telecommunication system of the nation and the world, cutting expenses spent on third-party call transfers and reducing the time taken in establishing a line.

The communication between the mayors was made in 18 seconds.
Not to forget, the removal of an operator also made communication a more private affair, without direct involvement of a third-party in call logistics.

Subsequently, the communication system was exponentially improved, paving the way for fax machines and other telephone-based services.
And it all began with a call between two men.

How to use the dial on your telephone, 1951


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