Trivia

Hard

Prior To 1968, Telephones Didn’t Have?

Dial Tones
Duplex Communication
Rotary Pads
Pound Keys

Answer: Pound Keys

If you’ve used an automated phone service recently, it may have prompted you to “enter your nine digit account number followed by the pound key” to signal the system that you had completed the task and entered the full string of numbers. Not only would you not be greeted with such an automated system when you called your bank back in the 1960s, but prior to 1968, the pound key (and the star key) didn’t exist.

Prior to that date, rotary and push button telephones simply had the numbers 0 through 9 on them. Each of the ten keys corresponded to a tone (a combination of two sounds that distinctly identified each number versus potentially similar sounding background noise) in the touch-tone phone system. In the late 1960s, AT&T decided to add two additional keys (and thus two additional tones), labeling them with the * and # symbols.

At the time, there was no prescribed or applied use for the keys, but the researchers at AT&T had an if-we-build-it-they-will-come attitude about it and understood that there was no reason not to include additional keys when someone would likely find a use for them in short order. By the early 1980s, both keys were in active use and not only became a part of automated dialing systems, but were integrated into the star dialing codes (known formally as “vertical service codes”) such as *69 to return the last incoming call.

Trivia

Hard

Best Known For Lightbulbs, Phonographs, And Film, Thomas Edison Also Invented?

Trivia

Hard

The Country With The Highest Per Capita Alcohol Consumption Is?

Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Things Did Sailors Throw Overboard To Calm Stormy Seas?

Trivia

Hard

Snow Isn’t Always White; In The Sierra Nevada Mountains Snow Is Sometimes?

Trivia

Easy

Bees Communicate Food Locations To Hive Members By?

Trivia

Hard

Cydia, The Third-Party Alternative To The Apple App Store, Is Named After What?

Trivia

Easy

In The 1930s, There Was A Craze To Get Which Of These Things Tattooed On Your Body?

Trivia

Hard

Which Tech Company Maintained A Secret Nuclear Reactor For Over Thirty Years?

Trivia

Easy

Which Visible Color Has The Highest Frequency?

Trivia

Hard

The Phrase “Ground Rules” Originated In?