really old phone lines

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wrote:

You are correct. I garbled my explanation. Thanks for catching it.

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It's true. I have one hanging from an old, rotary butt set mere inches from me as I type. Antique mementos, and all that, ya know...

Ah, you've been around it would seem.
I was one of Omaha's first MALE long distance (toll) Operators. I started my career on the old, black WE cordboard (Toll I) that operated 24/7.
Those were the early days of toll-free Directory Assistance NPA+555-1212.
Calls for my NPA (402) came into a single strip (24 jacks?) that multipled across perhaps 6-8 positions.
The system was new enough that an ACD (Automatic Call Distributor) delivered the calls to the jack strip, "falling" into the first (from the left) idle jack.
By touching the outer "sleeve" of each jack with no supervision (dark lamp), I could tell which jack was idle and would be the first to receive in incoming call. This provided much amusement to the chagrin of the old woman Operator seated nearby - that had been doing it for YEARS, taking MUCH pride in her speed and being the first to grab a new signal - when I began beating her to most calls! She'd been plugging-away for years and this young pup upstart was beating her time! Still, we became good friends.
I loved the old toll board. I personally handled a call from my brother, visiting my home, Sonny Bono, Ed McMahon and a person-to-person call to President Nixon. The President "wasn't in" so the drunk caller said to forget it. The MarkSense ticket went straight to the Service Assistant and, I presume, to the Secret Service. Ah, the good, old days... <sigh>
--
:)
JR

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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote:

Yes.
However, local Operator service you describe was in place long before the "pair" was introduced.
In smaller, local exchanges, the switchboard was often located in the parlor of a local resident's home.
The Operator, usually the lady of the house, would go about her business in the home, stopping to connect calls when they rang in.
She would dry her hands, proceed to the switchboard, don the "chestset" (large horn-shaped transmitter hung from the neck that rested on the sternum into which the Operator spoke) (not yet headset), and answer the call, "Number please!".
Generally, the Operator went to bed at 9:00 or 10:00 PM Sunday through Thursday and stayed up an hour to two longer on Friday and Saturday night.
Outside those hours, one dare not ring-up the Operator unless there was a true emergency, a baby was born, or someone had died.
--
:)
JR

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On Tue, 23 Sep 2008 20:29:17 -0500, Jim Redelfs

I always found it strange that death was treated as an emergency, as if the deceased isn't going to be dead very long.
"Dad died last night but the doctor was slow getting here, so dad came back to life." :-)
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On Wed, 24 Sep 2008 10:19:03 -0500, Gary H

Caller ... I think he is dead
911 operator ... First let's be surer he is really dead
Caller (sound of gunshot) Yep he's dead.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in (David Combs) wrote:

Reminds me of Monty Python's - Bring out your dead. Still bring me a good chuckle. Not quite like when I first saw it and my face hurt from laughing so much. We had a different Purple Pill back then...
    
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grbSQ6O6kbs

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On Tue, 26 Aug 2008 21:52:57 -0500, Jim Redelfs
[snip]

I believe there were 8 people on the party line my parents were on (and grandparents on that line too). We never heard rings for someone else. I don't know exactly how it was wired, except there were 2 wires entering the house.
--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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Jim Redelfs wrote:

I looked this one up in an electrical engineering reference ca. 1968.
In addition to what you wrote above there was tip-to-ground with positive and negative ringing and similar ring-to-ground positive and negative ringing. That gives 4 party full selective ringing.
The text refers to frequency selective ringing. What I remember is the ringers were mechanically or electrically resonant at different frequencies.
I have no idea how common either of these schemes were. They require different ringers (frequency selective) or added cold cathode tubes (+/- ringing).
-------------------------------- Thanks for all the great phone info (this thread and all the others). Tidbits like construction of quad cable to eliminate crosstalk are priceless.
--
bud--

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What's this "pair" stuff?
Back in the 50's, in West Texas, we (and everyone else not living "in town") had a wood box hung on the wall, maybe two feet high and 8-inches wide, with a stethascope-like mike in the middle, and a crank on the side.
Cranking long or short gave you the long-short-short etc.
Now, the "pair stuff":
We were some 15 miles from town, and our "line" (well, party line) went that entire distance, and consisted not of a pair, but of a single bare wire. The other side of the pair was the ground, of course.
You ALWAYS had to shout over the, uh, rice-krispy (sp?) pop crackle and snap or whatever, but LOUD, damnit, LOUD!
"HELLO! HELLO! COULD YOU SAY THAT AGAIN!
WHO ARE YOU CALLING? WHO IS THIS? BILL? NO? WHO THEN?
BILL? TOO MUCH STATIC -- I CAN'T HEAR YOU! CALL BACK TONIGHT!
LESS STATIC"
"Who was that, honey?" "I don't know, couldn't get his name" etc, etc
David
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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote:
-snip-

50's!? In 1972 I went to work for a small independent telco in upstate NY. [Middleburg Tel] They had just purchased an even smaller independent- the Summit Telephone Co. Those folks had 20 party lines on that great old bare wire stuff.
Joe, the owner was more inventor than type a personality, so he often just "made things work" any which way he could. One of our favorites was a stretch where he just hooked into an electric fence when his lines went down. The phone worked- but I couldn't say if the electric fence was still hot.

Yeah, but there was an upside. When you called someone local the operator could tell you when they left, and maybe where they were headed. And when they got home and made a call she'd fill them in on who had called.
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (David Combs) wrote:

Aw, shucks. It's that newfangled stuff where they provide phone service on TWO wires, of all things. You don't have to SREAM to be heard on 'em.

One need only ground one side of a modern, working (POTS) pair and it is obvious why, in the days you describe, it was a requirement to virtually SHOUT to be heard over the ground noise.
When they added the return conductor creating a balanced pair - the "loop" - the line wss quieted to an amazing degree.
I believe that, in most populated areas, PAIR service was introduced around 1910.
--
:)
JR

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Sure do -- variously named sharp-sign, pound-sign, hash, etc. "#"
When you program computers, you learn that kind of stuff.
Like "!" being called "bang" and, in the U.K., at least by some people some time ago, "shriek".
David
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You only need 2. Pick two that are good and go with them.
s

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Steve Barker DLT wrote:

Indeed! Others will say what colours to hook up, but in my experience - the colours are meaningless in low voltage wiring.
a
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a wrote:

Colors don't matter if YOU are the only one to ever service the system. Understand that there are people who are supposed to be service techs who are lost when the wire colors don't match up. That's why there are color codes and standards to go by. It makes it easier for those who need a little hand holding.
[8~{} Uncle Monster
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wendylee815 had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-really-old-phone-lines-327064-.htm :
wow, i really like to thank you all for your help...who knew that i only needed two of the wires?..i sure didnt, neither did my husband...lol i was pleasantly surprised to find a reply to my question so quickly..again, thank you all..but i do have one more question...you mentioned that one of the wires are for lighted phones, my question is, will my cordless phones have lights on the handset since they will be charged on the regular 110 line?
------------------------------------- Steve Barker DLT wrote:

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On Aug 25, 7:06�am, wendyhigginbotham_at_yahoo_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (wendylee815) wrote:

yeah cordless dont depend on phone line power for lights. just forget about it. other than looking and removing any old wall transformers connected to the phone line. they are unnecessary and can cause servce troubles.
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On Mon 25 Aug 2008 04:06:08a, wendylee815 told us...

327064-.htm
The lights in your cordless phones will work fine, since their lights are operated by the rechargeable batteries in the phones.
The additional wire used to power lights in phones originated when the Bell System introduced sets like the Princess Phones which had no other source of power.
--
Wayne Boatwright

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On Sun, 24 Aug 2008 17:37:52 GMT, wendylee815

You only need one pair, red/green.
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wendylee815 wrote:

First thing to do is make sure the line is hot. Lots of abandoned wiring in most old houses. Look in the basement, and try to see where the wire comes out, and see how many colors it has there. 3 color phone wire is rare, likely the black was clipped off on the kitchen end. Loosely attach a phone to the kitchen end, red and green, and see if you have dial tone. Old real (ma bell) phones often used the yellow as a ground line (IIRC, red went to L1, green went to L2, and yellow to GND). Modern disposable phones probably don't care. A pair of alligator clip leads, or better yet a rj11 breakout connector (jack to several alligator clips) comes in handy, if you don't have a butt sett, aka lineman phone. Don't be surprised if the line is garbage, and you need to run new wire. If you do, resist the temptation to disturb the old wire and install a splice- run it all the way back to where the wires come together on the terminal block. If you don't have an outside demarc box, call phone company and hint you want them to install one. That sometimes will get you a fresh drop from the pole, and gets you a nice fresh connector block to play with.
You have my sympathy- the inside wiring in this place is garbage, and I really need to redo it. But since I now have DSL on a separate pair, and nobody ever calls me, it isn't likely to get tp the top of the list anytime soon.
-- aem sends...
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