Sixty Years Ago on Saturday 10-Nov-1951 Englewood "DDD" [telecom]

It was sixty years ago, on Saturday 10-November-1951, that Englewood/ Teaneck NJ had their nationwide long-distance dialing "trials".

I don't know if there was an "end date" for these customer trials of long-distance dialing, as I've never come across any such end date indicated. And AT&T/Bell did intend to expand such customer long distance dialing as the 1950s progressed.

It wasn't called DDD (Direct Distance Dialing) at the time of the November 1951 introduction, but simply (customer) nationwide long distance dialing.

It wasn't even truly nationwide, although calls to the San Francisco/ Oakland CA Bay area as well as to Sacramento CA were part of the 1951 customer dialing from Englewood/Teaneck NJ. Most of the communities/ metro areas which could be customer dialed as of November 1951 from Englewood/Teaneck NJ were in urban areas in the northeast or midwest.

Englewood/Teaneck NJ already did have customer dialing throughout much of northeastern NJ, as well as with the five boroughs of NYC. I don't know how much of Nassau County NY and southern Westchester County NY might have been dialable from northeastern NJ prior to November 1951. The NYC Metro area did include Nassau County and the _southern_ part of Westchester County, where the NNX in this area were "protected" for 7-digit (2L-5N) dialing between the five boroughs of NYC and Nassau County and southern Westchester County. So, I wonder if MAYBE Englewood/Teaneck NJ (and other parts of northeastern NJ) already were able to dial to Nassau and southern Westchester "as part of" the NYC metro area, as "11" plus 2L-5N ??

The Englewood/Teaneck NJ Nov.1951 dialing instruction booklet states to use 516+2L-5N to call Nassau County, and 914+2L-5N to call (all of) Westchester County and all or part of three additional counties in the Hudson River Valley area.

Calls within the northeastern NJ area were dialed as _just_ 2L-5N. No mention of NJ being area code 201 was made in the dialing booklet.

The other metro areas (in addition to NYC/Nassau/lower Hudson River Valley, and northeastern NJ) which could be dialed, along with their actual area codes (with one exception) included:

617 Boston MA 401 Providence RI 215 Philadelphia PA 412 Pittsburgh PA 216 Cleveland OH 313 Detroit MI 312 Chicago IL 414 Milwaukee WI 916 Sacramento CA 318 San Francisco CA (west bay) and 415 Oakland CA (east bay)

Sacramento CA was the _only_ SXS area (although some of the areas in the lower Hudson River Valley NY area -- northern Westchester County and the additional counties which could be dialed also included SXS). All other areas which could be dialed from Englewood/Teaneck NJ at this time were Panel/#1XB (and some very new #5XB) communities.

Englewood/Teaneck NJ customers were served from new #5XB.

Only single and 2-party customers were eligible for the customer long distance dial service.

Note that San Francisco/west bay/north of Golden Gate are listed as _318_, while Oakland/east bay are listed as 415.

The entire Bay Area was a single 2L-5N calling area, and 415 was the official area code for all of the Bay Area (until 510 for Oakland/ east bay split form 415 retained by San Francisco/west bay/etc. in

1991). But probably because "up-front realtime" six-digit translation of an NPA-NNX code was not yet available, and because there were direct trunks from NY or NJ to both San Francisco (west bay) and Oakland (east bay) tandem/toll switches, it was probably considered better for efficient routing to have 318+2L-5N for the west bay points with 415+2L-5N for the east bay points, at least from customers. I tend to think that toll operators would still have used 415+2L-5N for calling all of the Bay area, since they could plug into a direct trunk to San Francisco vs. a direct trunk to Oakland, and then key/dial 415+2L-5N.

All "official" Bell System maps in articles in Bell's journals of the era show _only_ 415 for all of the Bay area. However, press releases and general purpose magazines/newspapers had articles referencing

318 for San Francisco/west bay, and 415 for Oakland/east bay, in such articles regarding this new customer dialing capability from Englewood/Teaneck NJ in November 1951.

It would be interesting to know if an Englewood/Teaneck NJ customer dialed 318 and then 2L-5N for an Oakland/east bay exchange, or if they dialed 415 and then 2L-5N for a San Francisco/west bay exchange, if the call would still complete. I assume that it "could", but it would have probably involved an extra trunk and/or tandem in the connection which wouldn't have been necessary if the customer had dialed the "listed" area code.

Several news/press stories and magazine articles including more detailed technical articles in Popular Science, Popular Electronics, etc. appeared at the time. The mayor of Englewood NJ dialed calls to the mayors of several Bay Area communities, and I assume as well to the mayors of other communities which now could be dialed.

In 1996, I was loaned a copy of the Englewood NJ customer dialing booklet, which I copied and also did a text transcription of. That text transcription was also submitted to Telecom Digest/Archives and can be found at:

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The next known customer long distance dialing implementation was in Fall 1953, two years later, from the Birmingham MI suburb of Detroit. A few more towns/metro areas were now customer dialable by 1953. I don't know if this implementation started off with "just" 415 for "all" of the Bay Area, or if 318 vs.415 was still used.

Note that before a community/metro area could be made customer dialable, it had to now be on a 2L-5N basis. By the time Birmingham MI had the service in Fall 1953, some of those additional communities were now 2L-5N, while when Englewood/Teaneck NJ first started with customer long-distance dialing in Nov.1951 two years earlier, those additional communities were still 2L-4N (or mixed 2L-4N with 2L-5N), not yet (fully) 2L-5N.

In addition to the 1996 posting I made to Telecom Digest/Archives of the transcription of the 1951 Englewood booklet, I have made several other posts to various Telecom-related groups, including here to Telecom Digest over the past 15 years, which can be found in the archives of older posts, for further reference.

Mark J. Cuccia markjcuccia at yahoo dot com

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Mark J. Cuccia
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I've heard that originally NJ was all 201, then later was split to include 609.

Area codes were still being fine tuned in that early era, which might explain the San Francisco situation.

Although routing and trunking equipment gets our attention with DDD, automated billing "AMA-Automatic Message Accounting" was a critical part of it.

I don't think the billing equipment could work with more than 2-party service. I wonder how common 4 party service was in developed areas, where costs of the local loop were not as much of an issue.

In a few areas, including NYC metro, city-suburban calls were billed by incrementing the message unit counter. Other places used AMA. The NYC system caused controversy when subscribers complained about being taxed unfairly--apparently different taxes applied for local city calls as opposed to 'toll' calls to the suburbs, but they were all lumped together in the message units. (NYT articles early 1950s).

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