The New York Times reports that John E. Karlin, whose work helped to bring about all-digit dialing, has died:
By the postwar period, telephone exchanges that spelled pronounceable words were starting to be exhausted. All-digit dialing would create a cache of new phone numbers, but whether users could memorize the seven digits it entailed was an open question.Here at Orange Crate Art, telephone exchange names are a minor but, it appears, permanent preoccupation. Thus this post.
Mr. Karlin’s experimental research, reported in the popular press, showed that they could. As a result, PEnnsylvania and BUtterfield — the stuff of song and story — began to slip away. By the 1960s, those exchanges, along with DRexel, FLeetwood, SWinburne and scores of others just as evocative, had all but disappeared.
All telephone posts (Pinboard)
The Anti-Digit Dialing League
Phones Are For People (1962 pamphlet mainfesto from the Anti-Digit Dialing League, disputing the looming number shortage)