Now You Can Dial [Geek History/Video]

By Jason Fitzpatrick on June 7th, 2011

If you though explaining email to a confused relative was basic just wait until you see how elaborate of a video was required to teach people to dial a phone number.

In this lengthy and elaborate (it has props!) video from 1954, popular fashion model of the time Susann Shaw walks us through how to use a dial telephone. It seems astounding that people would need this level of instruction but every technology is a new technology at some point and many people were quite put off to have to actually dial a phone number instead of requesting a connection via a live operator.

What we find baffling is the continual reference to the number zero and the letter O both as “O”. If they were so worried about people being confused with these new-fangled self-dialed telephones it seems like it would make sense to refer to the letter as “O” and the numeral as “zero” to avoid annoying long conversations like “No no, dial the numeral O not the letter O, you know the one at the end of the dial not the middle…”

Now You Can Dial [AT&T Tech Channel via BoingBoing]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/7/11
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