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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

When Numbers Had Names

Remember back when telephone numbers started with words like "Evergreen" and "Klondike"? Neither do I, but the Telephone EXchange Name Project is building a database of exchange names like the ones our parents and grandparents used.

How do exchange names work?
Everybody used to know this 30 years ago, but many young whippersnappers have probably never heard of this:

An exchange name is a word that is used to represent the first two letters of a 7 digit telephone number (exchange names have nothing to do with area codes or country codes). The first two letters of the exchange name are the first two digits of the phone number, when they are spelled out on a telephone dial or keypad. So for example, the exchange name "SYcamore" means that the first two numbers of the telephone number are "79", and SYcamore-4-3317 would be 794-3317, (my friend's old phone number 30 years ago).
[Hat tip: Orange Crate Art]

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