Monday, January 30, 2012

Technological Advancements

I was brought up during the time of, “Number Please” when you picked up the phone. I never knew the operator like Andy Griffin did on his TV program, but they always sounded so sweet.


During that period, if you were on a ‘party line’, there were advantages and disadvantages. Let’s see, I know there was a way to tell if it was your call or not. I think it was the rings. Like two short rings might be you, while a long and a short might be Mrs. Harris’s house. (I just checked with Paula, and the #/type of the ring is right)


So If Mrs. Harris got a call and mama or daddy wasn’t around you could lift the phone as quietly as possible, put your hand tightly over the mouth piece and listen in on someone’s private conversation. Many times (not me of course) folks would hear,”Is anyone listening on this line?”  Then the offender (not me of course) would have to decide to bluff this out or hang up. Big decisions.


Disadvantages were, if someone in your family wanted to make a call, you could not if you had ‘phone hogs on your party line’.

That all said, I think the first real technological advancement was the dial phone. No waiting on your end, and if the party you were calling was on the line you got the busy signal. You called back later. Amazing, no more ‘Number Please’. To make a long distance call you  dialed ‘0’ and got a real operator again.

With the dial, Kids invented new pranks. Kids had a way of finding fun on the phone. Pick a number, dial it:


“Maintenance here, is your Frigidaire running?”

“Yes it is, why?”

“Well you had better go catch it!”

Kids called a store: “Do you have Sir Walter Raleigh In a can?”

“Why certainly, several.”

“Better let ‘im out, he cannot breathe”. Kids, dying laughing and hanging the phone.

There were hundreds of these, and many a kid had gotten in trouble with mom and dad for that.


(And then the push button, wow!)

The first Mechanical advancement I remember was relocating the Brake Master Cylinder of a car, from under the horsehair backed rubber floor mats to the firewall. Many times, while adding brake fluid, I have held that stinking dirty mat with my head. LOL

Thanks for coming by the log.

NIte Shipslog


Observations on Growing Older

** Your kids are becoming you, and you don't like them -- but your grandchildren are perfect!
** Yellow becomes the big color -- walls, hair, teeth.
** Going out is good; coming home is better!



1932 Ford (and the ‘34) were the most popular base for hotrods in the 1950’s.


I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I'm thankful the long distance calls no longer cost an arm and a leg like they used to. Thanks to modern technology it now is possible to talk to my kids every day for free. I'm not saying that happens, but it could. We've seen a lot of changes in our day and more are coming. I'm not so sure I can keep up with it all but I am enjoying the ones I do know how to use.


Loved the photos of the old phones. And your story. I remember party lines and operators and kids being pranksters, too. Guess that dates me, huh. And you. LOL Those were the days. Or were they? Now you can take your phone with you wherever you go. I kind of like that, don't you? Take care.

Paula said...

Oh Jack don't ever hang up when you are listening in. They will hear that, just hold your breath and your hand tight over the mouth piece and pray you don't have to go to the bathroom before they hang up.

Anonymous said...

Great entry indeed. There were alike jokes friends made while we were young.

And yes, I like to come home. Guess, am getting old. Please have you all a good Tuesday.

shirl72 said...

Remember our 1st cousin worked for
Bell South where she retired.
I think she was an operated that
said "Number Please". We have
come a long way....


Anonymous said...

I missed out, by the time I was a teenager hotrods were out and European sports cars were in! Wow I can remember someone calling when I was 2 or 3 asking my Mom or sister about the refrigerator running! LOL When we moved way out in the boonies in 1947, we didn't have a phone, my parents didn't get one until sometime in the late 60s, when I physically took my Mom to the telephone company and made her sign up for a phone...and then I got grumbling cause it was a party line! I loved the sound rotary phones made when you dialed a number. Actually I met some pretty nice people back when there were still operators...I was worried one time about Don's plane getting in from Europe and a sweet New York operator helped me to get the info. I needed! I miss that! But then I miss having someone come out and put gas in the car and ask if I'd like them to look under the hood...sometimes I feel like a dinosaur...LOL

Woody said...

I can still remember our phone number, 2745, it was a party line with 6 people on it, my Grampa who could not hear, my aunt and uncle, my dads sister and my dads uncle, we used to try to listen in but "Fear of being caught" stopped that.

Sheila Y said...

I think ours was do you have Prince Albert in a can. Rick has a cousin who likes to pull phone pranks on Rick's dad. And this cousin is 60...ha, so it's not just the kids but the kids at heart...Have a great rest of the week, Sheila

Fred Alton said...

Oh man! Do I ever remember those days of the "Number Please" operators. I left the country for Africa before the cell phone took off so big - and when I returned, I had a terrible struggle trying to understand why a telephone operator refused to help me make a collect call from a telephone booth. I think the girl must have had a drink (maybe a quart) of lemon and quinine juice just before I tried and it turned her disposition sour. Yeah, and mine was Prince Albert in the can. ☻

Y said...

Hard to believe but my grandchildren are still pulling the same telephone pranks, but now they cal call, text, facebook message and email their silliness.

Facebook "creeping" is a great substitute for party line eaves dropping. It is amazing what personal information people put up on facebook for the rest of us to watch without being detected watching.