The Invention of the Touch-tone Telephone

            During the 1960's the invention of the touch-tone telephone influences the way we in the 1990's think about accomplishments. Before the touch - tone telephone there were rotary dial phones. With Kappel as boss of AT&T new customer equipment came about. In 1963 the first offering of the touch-tone service became available (Brooks, 1976). This service featured telephones with push buttons instead of rotary dials. In 1965, the Trimline, which had the dial built into the handset, proved to be an immediate hit (Brooks, 1976). The touch - tone phone is important to everyone today because it is an easier and faster way of dialing.

             "On November 18, 1963, AT&T officially offered the touch-tone phone to consumers who were sick of breaking their fingernails dialing old rotary phones” ( ). An AT&T historian, Sheldon Hochheiser explained that they had been trying to find other options to the rotary phone since the 40's when scientists figured out that what they were using were too slow and only able to carry information for a very short distance.( ) A study conducted in 1963 showed that dialing a 7 digit number on a rotary phone takes ten seconds compared to touch-tone dialing that took only five seconds. ( ).

             The touch-tone system is based on a concept known as dual-tone multifrequency. The ten dialing digits (0 through 9) are assigned to specific push buttons, and the buttons are arranged in a grid with four rows and three columns. Each of the rows and columns is assigned a tone of a specific frequency, the columns having higher frequency tones and the rows having tones of lower frequency(doc). "It wasn't until 1968 that the now-familiar pound and star keys were added in anticipation of voice mail and banking by phone” ( ).

             Touch - tone dialing has been around for over thirty years. Anyone who used to have a rotary dial phone will agree that the touch - tone phone is more convenient to use.

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