Manual Offices (re: Community Dial Offices) [telecom]

Lisa Hancock wrote:

>> P.S. Trivia--in 1970 the Bell System had 11 (eleven) manual offices >> left. I know one was Santa Catalina Island, off of California, and >> it was the last to be automated, using a compact ESS described >> above. I was wondering what the other ten were. This does not >> include manual offices of Independents. > The preferred method is a host/remote via a fiber optics link. The > remote is designed to still provide dial tone and local service if > the link is broken (such as by a backhoe ;-) ) Both DMS-100s and > 5ESSes have remotes made to work with them. I don't know about the > DMS-100 remote but I do know that the 5ESS remote's calling features > are handled by the host. > > As to Catalina Island I believe that was a No.3 ESS or something like > that. It was analog like the 1 and 1A (ESS). It has since been > replaced by a digital remote probably hosted by the nearest Pacific > Bell mainland host (San Pedro would be my guess).

Avalon CA is the main "town" on Santa Catalina Island CA, and is the name of the "ratecenter" for Catalona. It is a 5ESS-Remote, AVLNCA11RS0, hosted by at&t's (Pacific Bell's) 5ESS in Torrance CA, TRNCCA11DS0.

These days, there are also CLECs with service tariffed for Avalon CA, but provided by central office switches elsewhere in the Los Angeles CA mainland area. While their central office switch is NOT at Avalon, the CLEC's 310-NXX office codes are associated with the ratecenter of Avalon CA (Santa Catalina Island) for billing and tariff purposes.

BTW, the "basic" local calling area for Avalon CA (Santa Catalina Island) is ONLY Avalon CA and NOTHING ELSE. Of course, I suppose that the CLECs (and maybe even at&t formerly SBC formerly Pacific Bell) offer optional extended area plans. I don't find any cellular providers actually serving the RATECENTER of Avalon CA, but I expect that there are cell towers there, for people with cellphones associated with mainland ratecneters -- and you would be able to call "nationwide", although it could still be an intra-LATA toll call to call any cellphone FROM a landline associated with Avalon (Santa Catalina) if that cellphone is associated with a southern California ratecneter (and an inter-LATA toll call if the cellphone "visiting" Santa Catalina had a number outside of southern California) when calling from a landline at Catalina.

As for other Bell System manual offices still in existance circa 1970, I can think of these two:

- Lake Providence LA, South Central Bell, common battery manual

- Virginia City NV, Nevada Bell, actually MAGNETO

Both of these were converted to dial, probably #2-type ESS, around 1971 or 1972. Santa Catalina was also cutover to a #2-type ESS, I think a #2BESS, when originally cut from manual to dial in 1978, The #2-type (and rarely used #3-typoe) ESS offices were electronic but still "analog", not yet digital technology.

(The #4ESS is digital, but it is primarily a tandem or toll office, used mostly by AT&T, the legacy Long Lines side; The #5ESS is also digital, and can be used for local exclusively, toll exclusively, or operator services exclusively, or any combination).

I do not know the specifics of any of the other manual/magneto BELL exchanges in the US (and Bell Canada?) circa 1970.

But there were other manual and magneto office of non-Bell telcos in the US (and outside of Bell Canada's territory in Ontario & Quebec) in


- Grand River (Iowa), cutover to dial in 1981 or 1982.

- Bryant Pond (Maine), cutover to dial in 1983.

Bryant Pond ME is said to be the VERY LAST magneto central office board in the US to be cutover to dial, and by 1983, I think it was a small digital office.

And it was said to be the last non-dial full-fledged "exchange" in that it served numerous customers on party and single lines which were "switched" between each other.

But even after Bryant Pond ME, there were still "ring down party lines" and (non-dial) toll-stations, throughout the US and Canada. In the US, some of these "toll stations" were even served by a BELL operator.

The last known "ring down party line" in the US to be converted to regular dial operation was Shoup (Idaho), around 1990. There were about

20 customers who shared a common party line, single open wire with "earth/ground return", and "rang" each other by coded ringing (of course, most were already listening-in on the party line anyway), but a long ring for about 10-seconds in duration would signal the serving operator in (non-Bell) Salmon River ID to answer the line, if someone was calling someone elsewhere in the world. And that Salmon River ID operator was also the "inward" operator for calls placed TO a Shoup ID customer. By 1989/90, AT&T, US-West, and the local independent telco serving Salmon River ID at the time, realized that something had to be done about upgrading Shoup ID. Another independent telco came in and was tariffed to provide digital dial service to the handful of customers in Shoup ID.

And then, there were still several "individual" subscribers in some of most remote out-of-the-way locations which were served as a "toll station". These are those "oddball" places in Nevada and California, which had to be placed through the operator. I think that AT&T, SBC, and the various local independent telcos in these states who might have served these points, finally eliminated those toll stations which no longer really existed, since they had still been listed in some industry routing and billing documents, and for those which still did exist, they were finally given regular tariffed dial service, probably around 2002 or 2003.

I do NOT know what the current situation might be in remote parts of northern Canada or elsewhere in the North American network or anywhere else in the world.


***** Moderator's Note *****

I want to have at least _one_ Magneto telephone _somewhere_. It's something we have to do: like the Field Of Dreams, if we build it, they will come. Somewhere in North America there has to be a desolate outpost which still has a crank on the phone, and all we need to do is find it, find a switchboard that can serve it, and we're there.

Decades of Hollywood movies are crying out for their kinder, gentler rural past. So am I.

Reply to
Anthony Bellanga
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I was in Seattle last week for a meeting at Boeing Field. Alas, only two blocks from the best telecom museum in these United States. But, they are opened only on Tuesdays.

It didn't work this time nor did it two years ago.

Having said that, I suffered so with GTE's step office in Glendora, CA from 1969 to 1975, I gladly paid FX rates to bring in dial tone from Pacific's El Monte No 1ESS when it cut in 1975. Then, they put me on horrible N carrier. I really raised a stink and they then put me on T carrier with proper supervison, to boot. That happened only because the GTE local managers knew me (for better or worse).

I like the PSTN a whole lot more today.

Reply to
Sam Spade

The Telephone Museum in Ellsworth, ME. has a setup with a few magneto telephones and a small switchboard on which calls can be placed. It isn't connected to the PSTN, however.

(They also have a functioning #3 crossbar, a #5 crossbar under restoration, a step-by-step exchange, and a bunch of other stuff worth seeing.)

Reply to
Scott Norwood

Scott Norwood wrote in :

Telephone museums like this one and telecom digest readers interested in playing with old phones might be interested in the 'Collectors Network' (abbreviated C*Net) which tries to connect old phone equipment via modern means (PCs with asterisk and broadband connections).

Information via

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I'm a fan of C*Net. The biggest collection of old and new speaking clocks to play with! ;)

Koos van den Hout

Reply to
Koos van den Hout

At the Lancaster, PA, TCI phone show recently they had demos of SxS, panel, and crossbar where you could watch your call work itself way through. It was amazing how fast the relays worked--there was a lot of things going on, even on step, 'behind the scenes' as you dialed.

There's a King of Prussia, PA, ATCA phone show in August, but I don't know if the demos will be there.

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