There is a science behind generating our telephone numbers, though there are some phone number streams, including Tommy Tuton’s “867-5309 / Jenny” song. But why do phone numbers need 7 digits, area codes, and what did you do before the 911 came into existence? Here’s the story …
How to find the phone number
Alexander Graham Bell’s 1876 invention – With the increasing adoption of the telephone, he felt that a better way to connect was by asking someone by name.
At the beginning of the phone service, you need to select a receiver, ask the station operator to patch you through someone else, and then wait until your line literally gets into another person’s line.
Phone numbers soon began to be a 4-digit number series rather than names. A caller shares the number with a switchboard operator that can convert the telephone line to the corresponding line number.
Why phone numbers are 7 digits?
As the numerical telephone system grows, the initial 4-digit number sequence emerges out of unique combinations. Big cities started using 5 digits to give people more telephone numbers.
In the late 1920s, alphanumeric codes were assigned to the beginning of numbers to help identify geographical locations. Telephone engineers created the 7-digit standard in 1931 and expanded their number combinations. They also used alphanumeric codes as prefixes to individual line numbers.
Alphanumeric codes are based on the name of the local telephone exchange center. The first 2 letters of the city or city center name translate into the first digit of the telephone number, and the last 5 digits are personal phone line code.
For example, the phone number may be given to Melrose 4-2829. The first two letters of the Exchange Center name are large enough to show which letters are converted to numbers. Prior to the individual match number 4-2829, this meant that someone would dial 62 numbers to match mine.
However, the 2-letter and 5-digit standard for generating a 7-digit phone number is the U.S. Implementation was slow.
7 digit phone number history
Cities in the US switched to 7-digit phone numbers in the 1950s with 2-digit exchange center codes and 5 number line codes.
The 7-digit format not only validates the exchange center code and personal phone line code, but also makes phone numbers different from each other and easier to remember. And why is the science behind it.
Magic Number 7 (plus or minus 2)
Our short-term memory is a limited resource. Countless psychological experiments have shown that, on average, most of us have limited information that we can acquire, process, and remember.
In fact, the longest sequence a simple person can remember on the fly is seven items. This limitation, dubbed “magic number seven” by psychologist George Miller in 1956, illustrates some limitations on our ability to process information.
So, the process of using 2-digit and 5-digit sequences is combined with a rhythmic pattern of some number sequences made for some memorable phone numbers.
The origin of area code, or why phone numbers today are 10 digits
Finally, 7 digits is not enough to meet the demand for telephone numbers. Telephone engineers added 3 digits in the front of the number line to form the area code as part of the original North American numbering scheme. The update has created an efficient, long-distance calling system.
The prefix area code system and the 3-3-4 dialing scheme developed by AT&T came into force in 1947 and were used by telephone operators before it became the standard for residential phone numbers in the 1950s. The first customer-dial long distance call In 1951, Mayor M. Leslie was at Downing in Englewood, New Jersey, as US residents began using the 10-digit phone number with the 90 area code.
How Telephone Area Codes Work
Subsequently, population-based codes were assigned, and most populated areas received fast dialing codes on the rotary phone.
The states are divided into several regions, requiring more than 500 central phone operator offices. Each region of the state receives its own code with the middle digit of 1, while the region codes of all states place the digit 0 in the center.
Most densely populated cities have fewer pulse order area codes. For example, New Jersey receives the first Code Code 201 and the Second Code of the District of Columbia 202, while New York City claims Area Code 212 with only five duplicates, the lowest of all area codes.
Since the telephone originates from a long-distance national calling to international calling, we have also adopted the international calling code. For example, dialing +1 in front of a 7-digital phone number, the U.S. Helps other countries.
Emergency number before 9-1-1
In fact, there are still some phone numbers that do not follow the 7-digit and 10-digit rules. Although 911 was eventually adopted as the standard emergency number in the United States and Canada, it was not official until the late 1960s.
Before a 911 emergency system, you must call the operator to call the correct emergency service. In some states, you dial “3-4-7-3”, which spells out “fire” to reach your local fire department. In other parts of the US, fire departments and police stations have 6- or 7-digit numbers like everyone else.
Although the standard emergency number was previously dubbed “nine-eleven,” phone companies have changed its use to “nine-one” so that people looking for the elusive “11” button are worthless and never waste time.
Why “555” phone numbers have never worked before
If you’ve ever heard a phone number on a TV or movie, you can consider it a “555” phone number. Hollywood often uses telephone numbers starting at 555 because most of them have no original phone numbers until 2016.
In the early 1960s, 555 phone numbers were reserved for entertainment and advertising because the 555 Exchange Center code was not popular. Why 555 of all the conversion numbers? Well, the 5 letter corresponds to the letters J, K and L. Most conversion centers don’t start with those letters, so the 555 code isn’t used much.
As of 2016, the North American Numbering Plan Administration, which provides phone numbers, has issued a total of 555 numbers outside the Phone Number Group for the regular phone number list.
Not all movies and studios use the 555 number, however. Various production studios purchase fake phone numbers to create a more realistic viewing experience. For example, Universal Pictures numbers (212) 664-7665 and has used it in many of its films. Call the phone number and you will hear nothing but endless rings and rings and rings.
So, the next time you choose your phone to connect with your friends and family, remember how advanced the technology is.