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View Full Version : Did anyone order home phone service around 1975?



JulieHowe
12-17-2009, 08:48 AM
This is a question about telephone service in Northern California in 1975 (although out-of-state responses are fine too.) After moving into a new apartment, does anyone recall how long it took to start up new phone service? I know from as far back as 1990, the phone company was able to activate new service without sending out a technician.

Was the installation of new service a hassle in those days, with technicians not showing up at all, or several in-person visits required before the phone worked right in an apartment?

Thanks!

Bluegate
12-17-2009, 10:34 AM
Boy, this is a little vague now, but the guy had to come out and do something up on the pole outside. I think there was a box or something there and he had to make some kind of connection from that pole point. They called it something but it escapes me right now. Then when the guy did come inside they were really just checking to make sure the thing was plugged in and working. Most of the hassle and work was done at the box and the occupant contact was about five minutes at the most. As for their promptness or not I don't know since I never sat around waiting for them, I was a kid. I don't recall much trouble with though and believe me, I would have heard about it. I think they were pretty at setting a time and keeping to it. I know that while it was a pain to do it was fairly easy to schedule all that sort of stuff on the same day, two if you had a lot of stuff. As I recall all that changed when Ma Bell broke up.
Hope that helped a little. Maybe someone with a clearer memory will show up soon.

RJK
12-17-2009, 09:29 PM
I had one installed in 1976. We wanted the phone on the opposite side of the house from where the old box was. The appointment took about 3 or 4 days to set up. The technician clearly didn't want to string all the extra wire, and tried to talk me out of it. Then he got zapped when somebody called us while he was connecting the wires. He was not a happy camper when he left.

JulieHowe
12-17-2009, 10:23 PM
Thanks, RJK and Bluegate!

StephanieFox
12-18-2009, 12:59 AM
This is a question about telephone service in Northern California in 1975 (although out-of-state responses are fine too.) After moving into a new apartment, does anyone recall how long it took to start up new phone service? I know from as far back as 1990, the phone company was able to activate new service without sending out a technician.

Was the installation of new service a hassle in those days, with technicians not showing up at all, or several in-person visits required before the phone worked right in an apartment?

Thanks!

In Iowa, Missouri and Northern Virginia, if you were having a new line put in, they could usually get someone within 24 to 48 hours but sometimes less. If your line got pulled out of the wall and you neede to get it put back in, that would be the same day. You did not buy a phone, you rented it from the phone company, paid for in your phone bill. When we rented, the phone just stayed in from the previous renters and you got their number. The techs were there when they said they'd be so you didn't need to wait around a lot. It took them only a few minutes to do the job.

johnnysannie
12-18-2009, 01:32 AM
Another thing in Missouri - and for much longer past 1975 - in some areas, all you could get was on a party line. This really sucked but it was what I had to deal with when I first moved out on my own in the early 1980's, suffering through being on a party line.

Even as late as the mid 1990's, the phone company wanted to call the shots where the put a jack - at least in my experience when we moved into a brand new home and the phone guy would not put the jack where I wanted but where it was easiest for him!

WriteKnight
12-18-2009, 01:39 AM
An apartment in 1975 would have already had drop lines and phone jacks installed in the apartment. The connection would be done outside in the main 'drop box'. The installer might only knock on your door - and ask you to check the connection. Typically he would check the line from OUTSIDE first - useing the little 'phone handset' with dial attached that you would see hanging from their belts. The reason for prolonged presence inside an apartment (If that's what your story needs) would be the addition of another line -or the addition of another jack in another room. This would require stringing a wire.

Usually service could be ordered within forty eight hours - three days tops - again, we're talking about an apartment complex, that already has phone lines and drop box in working order - NOT some rural home out in the boonies without phone service.

JulieHowe
12-18-2009, 02:06 AM
An apartment in 1975 would have already had drop lines and phone jacks installed in the apartment. The connection would be done outside in the main 'drop box'. The installer might only knock on your door - and ask you to check the connection. Typically he would check the line from OUTSIDE first - useing the little 'phone handset' with dial attached that you would see hanging from their belts. The reason for prolonged presence inside an apartment (If that's what your story needs) would be the addition of another line -or the addition of another jack in another room. This would require stringing a wire.

Usually service could be ordered within forty eight hours - three days tops - again, we're talking about an apartment complex, that already has phone lines and drop box in working order - NOT some rural home out in the boonies without phone service.

Thanks to all who answered! Yes, the apartment building already has established phone service, and my characters are new tenants who just moved into the building.

icerose
12-18-2009, 02:11 AM
Around here we had the original phone lines for ages and ages. It was only within the last like eight years they even went to fiber optic. In fact some places around here are still converting. A person always had to come to the house to the phone box. They'd have to set up the connection. In rural areas (where I live) it could take up to a week to get phone service, but boy they could sure shut it off in a hurry.

It wasn't a huge deal unless the box was so old and corroded that they had to replace the box. In the 1970's I don't imagine they would have to do that as they wouldn't be that old at the time.

Anyway they would check it at the pole and then check it in the home to make sure it actually worked. Often times if they didn't get the connection right or if it rained really hard and those lines got soaked you'd get interference, like you could hear up to three other conversations while you were trying to have one. They weren't clear or anything but they were an intrusion and you wondered who might be listening to you.

Hip-Hop-a-potamus
12-18-2009, 06:01 PM
And don't forget, they'd probably still be using rotary-dial. I don't remember us getting our first push button phone until around '76 or '77.

Parents bought me a yellow doughnut push button phone for about my 12th birthday, and it was a big deal.

Kathie Freeman
12-19-2009, 09:17 PM
I ordered phone service for a house in a suburb of LA in 1971. I called the phone company from a pay phone, by the time I got back to the house it was in service.

JulieHowe
12-19-2009, 09:20 PM
Thank you.