Buffalo, New York telephone exchanges

The history of the telephone exchange names in Buffalo, New York, as in most significant United States cities, can be divided into three periods:

  1. The pre-dial period, when all telephone calls were completed by manual action by operators (Not all the exchanges in Buffalo, New York were changed to dial at this time, but as long as any exchanges were dial, the requirements for dial exchanges applied), and there were no constraints on exchange names other than that there was no likelihood of confusion when a customer gave the name to the operator,
  2. The early dial period, in which the Buffalo, New York telephone numbers were set up to accommodate dialing the first two letters of an exchange name followed by a four-digit number designating the individual line, though in fact not all exchanges provided for dialing by the phones in those exchanges, and
  3. The late dial period, beginning on October 16, 1960, in which, instead of the first two letters of an exchange name alone, one dialed the first two letters and an "office numeral" (This was the terminology used in an early New York City directory, though it was not common terminology in this period), again followed by four digits designating the individual line.

Actually, the late dial period in Buffalo differed from that in all other cities because a name was never given to the exchanges. Instead, Buffalo exchanges consisted of only two letters and a digit. Moreover, only one letter was used for each digit: all 2's were transliterated as A, all 3's as F, all 4's as H, all 5's as L, all 6's as N, all 7's as R, all 8's as T, and all 9's as X. Thus, such combinations as TX or RR occurred even when they could have been represented as TY or PR, which could have begun a word.

Buffalo, New York:
Main Buffalo, New York page
Chronological periods of the Buffalo, New York data:
Pre-dial period Early dial period Late dial period

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Last modified September 13, 2015.

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