Tuesday, May 24, 2011

1954 New Telephone Service

In June of 1954, there were 1,100 telephone exchanges in Fowlerville, with 4,800 telephones in the 'new enlarged local calling area.'

The following article was published in The Fowlerville Review:

A new way of telephone living will come to Fowlerville Tuesday (June 22) when the Michigan Bell Telephone Company introduces dial service here. The changeover is set for 5:00 am.

With the change, a new 'metropolitan' type numbering system will include the central office name of 'CAstle' and five numerals in each local telephone number, for example, CAstle 3-1199. Local telephone users will call each other by dialing CA followed by five digits.
Russell H. Engelhardt, manager here for Michigan Bell, commented that the company is operating two telephone systems here from now until the time of the dial conversion. Customers will continue to use the manual type until Tuesday, and the company continues to test the new dial equipment, getting it ready for 'D-Dial' Day.

Fowlerville's local calling area will be expanded to include Howell, at the same time. Calls between Howell and Fowlerville will be allowed without a toll charge.

Engelhardt explained that increased rates will apply for some types of service here, under the extended calling area arrangement. He said that customers here have been so advised.

To call Howell telephones, local customers will dial the code '41' and give the number to the operator.

New telephone directories are being delivered here before the changes. They will include all the new telephone numbers and instructions on how to dial them.
The new dial system is housed in the new Michigan Bell building here. The cost of the project, including switching equipment, dial instruments and outside telephone construction, will amount to $145,000. Some of my readers may remember the early telephone operators that would 'plug in' calls. Anyone have names?

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