phone history

When I was a kid one could still dial 5 phone digits instead of 7. Well, and heck… for many people now it is 10 or sometimes 11 if you need the 1. And back in the day, in urban areas you could tell what part of town someone lived in from their phone number.

And phone books. “The white pages”–A big deal when I was a kid… useful to have, addresses too! But useless now. Who is in the phonebook?

We can move anywhere in the world (literally!) and keep our current US phone number. Just have to move it to a IP phone like ooma or magicjack or google voice and voila!

And there was a time period where people cared a lot about their phone number, especially the area code and/or exchange… keeping old cell phone numbers from their beloved home town. But I think for the most part most people are sorta over that idea circa 2015. Numbers are almost meaningless to people to the point that sometimes people don’t know their own number since it is just programmed into their contacts list.

Anyway, that’s the view from the Boston area 2015 where overlaid area codes, cell phones, and IP phones (and don’t forget texting, facetime and skype!) have made all of this a little bit crazy.


Acton’s phone exchange is 263. Why? Used to be COlonial-XXXX instead of 263-XXXX. CO=26
87 TR TRinity Framingham MA
56 JO JOrdan Hudson MA

Info from:


“The decision to assign 617 to Boston was somewhat unusual, since the North American Numbering Plan Administrator wanted to keep the number of “clicks” to a minimum for large cities given the rotary dialing technology of the time.[1] Area code 617 has 14 clicks, one of the most for an original area code assigned to a major city.”

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