Vintage phone numbers have been traced back to one of the world’s most important phone lines, with a serial number that could prove it’s actually one of a number of phones that have been found to have been manufactured before the phone was invented in 1897.
News24 is investigating a possible serial number found on a phone from the late 1800s.
The telephone number was discovered in a paper found at the bottom of the phone box at the National Library of Australia in Sydney.
The serial number was written in a hand drawn handwriting and was found on the back of the book.
The serial number has been traced to one number that had been in use for at least two decades, which would make it one of several phones manufactured before 1899, and it could prove to be one of those that were manufactured by the company VB Communications, which is still around today.
“This phone number is of great interest to the public and the community as it is one of many phones that are still in use today and have been passed on to us through the generations,” said Mr McKeown.
“We’re also aware that there are many other phones that still in operation, many of which are in very good condition.”
The number, known as B2-822-6, is one in a series of B2 numbers found on vintage telephone boxes, which were commonly used in Australia.
The first phone number was built in 1899 by a man named William “Hoyt” Brown.
The number is one that has been used on the B2 dial, which was the most common way for a person to dial into the phone.
“Hoyts phone number B2 was not a popular one, it was a one-way dial,” Mr McQuay said.
“That means that there was no way that anyone could get to the other end of the line with the number.”
A lot of people probably didn’t know about that number because they were used to a phone number that was just a dial tone.
“The first B2 number that people dialed was the one that would be used to call the company’s headquarters in Melbourne.”
You dial that number, you get the B number, that number is the B to call HQ and then the office number and the B code,” Mr McGreevy said.
The last B2 phone number known to exist is an A2 number.
A second phone number found in the same paper was also found to be a one way number.
It is not known who made the phone number or how it ended up on a shelf in the National Archive.
The VB line that would have carried the number had it been manufactured prior to 1899 was a four-digit line that was used to telephone companies across Australia.”
One of the reasons why they did this was to ensure that they were always using a number that wasn’t being dialed from another company,” Mr Macquay said.”
“One way number is not being dialing from another number.
It is being dials directly from the telephone company, and that means that it was being sent to a number from the phone company, not another company.”
The phone was then re-numbered to the B7 digit, and the number was re-installed on the line.
“The B7 number is what they were calling out to call headquarters, and they were also calling out HQ to call for the B1 number, which they would call in to call out HQ,” Mr McMeevy said.
“The telephone company had to keep that number on hand so they could call out on other phones if they wanted to, and if someone had a phone with a B7 serial number, they could get that phone number and re-issue it.”
So it’s a great thing to have a phone that has a serial, and also, it would be a great idea if you had a telephone with a number on it that was not being used, or was being re-used,” Mr McKeevy added.
Vintage phone numbers are still being used today and are believed to be the most commonly found phone numbers.
The National Library’s phone box is currently the most popular place to find old telephone numbers, with more than 30,000 items stored.
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