With all due respect, Bell/W.E. did not design
>SxS. That was done by, or at the behest of, a Kansas
>City undertaker named Strowger, as I recall.
> When the first dial office was established in
>Oklahoma City, in 1920, it had to come from Automatic
>Electric, since there was none from Bell/W.E.
> Some of it was still is service into the 1950s
>and I think probably another 10 years or so late.
>(Additions to the office, and other SxS offices in
>Oklahoma City, starting in 1927, were W.E. equipment,
>since they had discovered by then that not all of the
>U.S. is served by great megaplexes and there was also
>a need for dial equipment for smaller cities where
>common control would have been, to put it mildly, an
Step gone by the 1950's? Maybe in the Bell System, but not at independents - Try 1986 for the last "100% Mechanical Step" office, and at least 1992 for it to all be cut out of service through digital switch expansions and replacements.
Lancaster CA was the last SoCal GTE switchroom running 100% AE Strowger and all-relay Type 62 'rural' SATT. (They did not have a way to retrofit the Proctor/IBM Electronic Director system to a Type 62 office, so it kept chugging away - grossly overloaded.)
Local calls dialed 7-digit, and for toll you dialed 1 to get a director and second dial tone, and they shipped almost everything toll out to a tandem.
GTE was being rather pragmatic - they didn't want to install a bunch of 1A-EAX and 2-EAX 'analog electronic' reed-relay offices just to eliminate Step, and then have to yank those switches right back out again in 10 years when Digital was finally ready. They wouldn't have had them fully depreciated yet.
The mixed offices that started out Step and already had a 1A-EAX,
2-EAX, 5ESS or GTD5 installed for expansion were either expanded further or replaced to absorb the step and analog electronic prefixes. I was out of COE Installation and in Construction Splicing before they finished that.
The last Step switch in GTE California was cut over to 5EAX on
12/01/1990 and it was at Walnut Grove, Calif. I'm not sure if it was the last one in other GTE companies. I am also remember the Proctor/IBM Electronic director system. We had one at Edgemont CO in Moreno Valley, Calif. That was cut out when the office went GTD5. It sat there for some years because it was owned by Bank of America Lease and no one knew what to do, BofA did not want it and GTE was not going to pay for it to be removed. After a few years we needed the area for something; can't remember what, anyways we junked it out. I helped put it in but never really understood how it worked.
I had no idea how bad GTE (General Telephone Company of California then) was until I moved from a Pacific Telephone area to Glendora, California in 1969. The deterioation of toll service from 1969 to 1979 was astounding. During busy times my toll rate failure grew to 90%.
Complaining to the CPUC did little good. They knew how bad the situation was, but decided to keep a lid on it.
I finally had to resort to bringing in an FEX line from the new Pacific No. 1ESS in the contiguous El Monte exchange in 1975. Even with that, the General faught me every step of the way. They first placed me on N carrier that was horribly out of balance. I complained to the PUC informally on deaf ears. I then filed a formal complaint, and it was dismissed with an agreement to cut me to T carrier.
I then wanted calling features tarffied by Pacific. The General said no, they had not filed to concur. I then requested that Pacific place my number in an airport hangar I had at El Monte airport and do an off-premise extension to my home in Glendora. The General said, "Matters not, we will block the line if it has calling features. This got to Pacific and they complained to the PUC because I would become primarily their customer with an off-premise extension. The General relented, and filed to concur on calling features. I din't have to play the off prem game.
In 1977, I got a vacation condo at the beach in south Orange county, served by a Pacific No. 1ESS. I "played" telephone at each location during busy hours, making lots of calls to the unoccupied other location. The completion rate from Pacific to General was almost 100%. From General to Pacific is was around 10%, and you would have to wait up to 90 seconds for the ATB signal to appear from the General SxS switcher. During all this time non-toll Glendora calls would complete nearly 100% of the time. Thus, the toll director was the culprit.
I filed a formal complaint with all the stats I had compiled. The CPUC ALJ assigned the case called me (very unusual, ex-parte communication) and pleaded with me to dismiss. He said I was "spot on" but that CPUC staff would do everything it could to sandbag my case, because they did not want any of this to become a matter of record. I gave up because by then it had become apparent I was going to move to the beach location (where I am to this day).
Glendora finally got a GTD5 in 1986.
During the time I lived in Glendora, I told everyone I knew who had a telephone-toll-intensive business to make sure they located in a Pacific area. In fact, I convinced a few mid-size businesses to move. They all ever pleased with the move.
Ironically, once the General decided to dig himself out of this hole of years of corporate neglect, the company really came along. They knew the GTD-5 was fine for residential service, but the placed either a DMS-100 or 5ESS in their bigger offices to serve businesses with sophisticated needs. By the time Verizon bought them, GTE, at least in Southern California was, in some ways, better than Pacific Bell by that time.
As I understand it, no matter what service problems the former Bell System had in the 1960s, the Independent companies had it worse. Often they had limited capital for upgrades, and sometimes they were in growing areas they could not afford to support. Often the companies were badly fragmented; for some reason they waited until the
1980s to make common-sense trades with other companies so as to build up contiguous service territories. Also, some of the smallest carriers merged upward.
My sister's SxS C.O. was horrible until they went to ESS in the
For healthy companies, getting rid of SxS early on saved money as ESS was much more automated and didn't require sending out a craftsman on a 100 mile trip for maintenance work. Also, ESS took up less floor space and expansion meant they did not have expand the building. Some healthy companies were able to get into cable TV and cell phones as well.
By 1986 deregulation had cut in and the GTD5 was made by AGCS which was owned by AE and Western Electric. As to the 5ESS,DMS100 or GTD5 switches, it had nothing to do with being a business or not. It had to do with bids on the office by the 3 companies. GTE had offices that had both GTD5 switches as well as either or 5E's or DMS's.
It was a merger which BellAtlantic and GTE which formed Verizon, which had 2 CEO's for a few years. The standards have not changed much since once GTE went to Digital switching, the standards were very good.
I started with GTE(CWT) in 1967 and spent my 30 years with the company in CO Construction which built the offices. Different areas had problems and some had non. I believe Glendora was an old CWT area and the owners at the time put very little back into the company. I worked and lived in Huntington Beach and we had very good service. Many of the problems had to do with the Directors. Most former CWT areas had 48 SATT, the areas with 53 and 53A or 62 SATT completed most calls, local or toll. Also once GTE had it own Toll Centers things even got better. It seems during busy time the PacBell/ATT offices choked off toll calls coming into their areas to keep their circuits from overloading. I know this because for no reason at all, toll repeaters or carrier systems between th offices would go busy.
I have done contract work in Verizon offices since I have retired and to me they are not a customer friendly as when I was with them, the company is just too big and has taken the old Bell Head manner.
My recollection is that Azusa, Glendora, Covina areas were GT. Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Sylmar area, Redlands, and Palm Spings were CWT.
I was raised in Monrovia. Everyone called them California Drip and Tinkle. ;-)
The year you were hired was, as I recall, the year GT bought CWT. GT built a big office building in Monrovia for regional staffing that ended up being an eye-sore, vacant building.
The business office for Monrovia, Sierra Madre, and Azusa/Glendora, ended up on the ground floor of the former CWT SxS. Those folks that worked there lived in constant fear of an earthquake bringing the SxS down on their heads. When GTE finally converted Monrovia to electronic they built a new CO a block, or so, away.
You are right about that area being GTE. I was hired in November of
1967, it was CWT a member of The General System, My ID said CWT on it and I still have it as I also have my replacement I got in 1968 after GTE California took full control of the company, or at least tried to. Each time they sent GTE managers out we ate them alive. It took 3 years to get control. We had standards that were more like Bell, I went to a GTE CO Construction school and when I came back my boss told me to forget what I had learned at least for the time. We used the cloth cable or Stromberg cable which had white for return. Palm Springs was CWT but before it was Cochella Home Telephone. I went down there years latter and found an old Pay phone sign and replaced it with a GTE one, right off the side of the California Highway Patrol Indio office, I did have a company truck at the time. I remember the area office which was CWT HQ, the CO was down the street with the business office on the first floor, but it was set office to the side. I went back there a few years ago when I was doing contract work for a company that had been hired by Verizon, the office looked the same. Someone had installed some cables for a fiber ring backwards and I am a Lead Installer so I was sent in to find out what the problem was, took about 2 seconds to find the error, and a day and a half to fix it. If I had found the installers who had don it I would have killed them.
Right now I'm on a break, only work 6 months out of the year, going to do work in Las Vegas come June.
Speaking of Las Vegas, who owns the LEC there now? I remember in the "old" days it was a small company based in suburban Chicago. It wasn't Continental Telephone, but something similar to that. Was it Central Telephone (Centel)?
I know the jokesters called it Mafia Bell. ;-)
As I recall they converted to electronic fairly early on to keep the casinos happy.
You are right, it was Centel, its now Embarq, which was formed when Sprint split it wire lines off a couple of years ago. I'm not sure how long ago they went electronic, you can see where the SXS were on the floors, now they for the most part are DMS, with a few 5ESS switches around. Nevada Bell, now at&t Nevada has operations all around Las Vegas. Their standards for the most part are Bell. Many of the casinos use Clec for service, there are a lot of private line services there, more then I have seen in any other area. The last time I was there we were cutting a newer DMS 100 to handle more features and we had to co major half taps on the frame. We had to deal with 2 clec that Sprint at the time did all their frame and switch cuts, just rented line from them, really strange.