When I moved into my first flat in 1965, I had a party line shared with my neighbour across the landing. On two occasions, I remember having to report a fault when the lines got crossed over. My neighbour was not so pubic spirited and just told his friends to ring my number to get through to him! I always wondered what the button to get a line actually did so thanks Cookie for telling me that it earthed the line. Somehow pressing the button caused Radio 4 to play on my phone.Yes Morturn, pressing the button 'earthed' the line which let the exchange know which party was calling for billing purposes. Party lines were to solve the problem of shortage of lines in the cable and was only a temporary measure until more pairs were available I was an engineer for 34 years and still remember the problems caused when the party line got 'reversed' during maintenance. Eric
Mmmm that is a very old , dodgy looking pole
I too remember that display. It was right next to the fox and rabbit game, made from ex post office telephone parts.Dialing the 'wrong' number to get the 'right' person on a party line reminds me of the small model telephone system in the Museum of Science and Industry in Newhall Street. There was a glass-fronted cabinet that let you watch the works and on either side was a telephone. A small notice by each telephone told you what number to dial, say 639. Inevitably someone would pick up that phone and call out to their companion standing by the other telephone, "My number is 639, what's yours?", i.e. exactly the same way as a 'real' system works, but not the display model!
Incidently Kidderminster Railway Museum has a nice little working exchange but here you DO have to ask "What's your number?"!
We called it 'Fox and Geese', one fox that could go forward and back and four geese that could only advance. There was a control knob that slid in a 'St Andrews cross' cut-out. Wasn't there a futuristic counter display across the gangway that used Dekatron tubes, a neon-like glow that stepped around a ring of electrodes?I too remember that display. It was right next to the fox and rabbit game, made from ex post office telephone parts.