How To Dial Your Phone

I keep getting phone books and the Yellow Pages dropped in front of my door and I keep throwing them out. Who needs a phone book anymore? Most people I know primarily use a cell phone and wouldn’t be listed in the local phone book anyway.  So it’s funny to think that there was a time when people had to learn how to dial their own phone. This short film from the early 1950’s was created by AT&T to show the public how to use a rotary phone.  Such helpful words of wisdom include “When you want to make a call always be sure you have the right number.”


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This film is remarkably like the one that Northwestern Bell used back in the 1950s when dial phones first came to my hometown in eastern Nebraska. I also recall clearly that they had phone company employees come to the schools to teach children how to use a dial phone, and by doing so, the children would be able to teach their parents. Back then my late mother's phone # is PA(RK)1-5080. The local library was PA1-5000. We used to get a lot of misdials for the library from people not being careful in getting their dialing finger into the correct hole in the dial.
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Kim, it's a zero. It's like using the short form for the year 2008 for example. '08 is pronounced oh-eight. You know it's a number.

On the phone, the number zero serves a dual purpose as O for Operator, and the number zero. It's versatile, and something you really much about once you learn it. I suppose younger people don't think about it being O for Operator, since the Operator is headed to being O for Obsolete.
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