Push-button telephone

Push-button telephone

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Push-button telephone'
Start a new discussion about 'Push-button telephone'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The push-button telephone was first invented in 1941, and is a telephone
Telephone
The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

 with push-buttons or keys, and which eventually replaced rotary dial
Rotary dial
The rotary dial is a device mounted on or in a telephone or switchboard that is designed to send electrical pulses, known as pulse dialing, corresponding to the number dialed. The early form of the rotary dial used lugs on a finger plate instead of holes. Almon Brown Strowger filed the first patent...

 telephones that were first used in 1891. The first push-button telephone was invented in the labs of Bell Telephone
Bell Telephone Company
The Bell Telephone Company, a common law joint stock company, was organized in Boston, Massachusetts on July 9, 1877 by Alexander Graham Bell's father-in-law Gardiner Greene Hubbard, who also helped organize a sister company — the New England Telephone and Telegraph Company...

; however, these models were only prototypes, and were not brought to the commercial market. The first publicly-available push-button telephone was released in 1963, by the Bell System
Bell System
The Bell System was the American Bell Telephone Company and then, subsequently, AT&T led system which provided telephone services to much of the United States and Canada from 1877 to 1984, at various times as a monopoly. In 1984, the company was broken up into separate companies, by a U.S...

. They were first made available in the towns of Carnegie and Greensburg, Pennsylvania.

History


In the 1950s, AT&T
American Telephone & Telegraph
AT&T Corp., originally American Telephone and Telegraph Company, is an American telecommunications company that provides voice, video, data, and Internet telecommunications and professional services to businesses, consumers, and government agencies. AT&T is the oldest telecommunications company...

 conducted extensive studies, and concluded that push-button dialing was much faster than rotary dialing. On November 18, 1963, the first electronic push-button system, with Touch-Tone dialing, was offered by Bell Telephones to AT&T customers.
The push-button telephone was introduced to the public, in the towns of Carnegie
Carnegie, Pennsylvania
Carnegie is a borough in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States and is part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The population was 7,972 at the 2010 census.-Geography:Carnegie is located at . It is approximately southwest of Pittsburgh...

 and Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Greensburg, Pennsylvania
Greensburg is a city in Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, United States, and a part of the Pittsburgh Metro Area. The city is named after Nathanael Greene, a major general of the Continental Army in the American Revolutionary War...

, with touch-tone dialing available for an extra charge. The first push-button phone, the Western 1500, had only ten buttons. A twelve-button model featuring the asterisk/star (*) and pound/hash (#) keys was released soon afterwards, replacing the earlier model.

Though push-button touch-tone phones made their debut to the general public in 1963, the older rotary dial telephone still was common for many years. In the 1970s, the majority of phone users still had rotary phones. Adoption of the push-button phone was steady, but it took a long time for them to appear in some
areas. At first it was primarily businesses that adopted push-button phones. By 1979, the touch-tone phone was gaining popularity, but it wasn't until the 1980s that the majority of customers owned push-button telephones in their
homes; by the 1990s, it was the overwhelming majority.

Some exchanges no longer support pulse-dialing, and rotary telephones are generally considered obsolete. Rotary telephones are now largely considered a novelty, and are not compatible with some modern telephone features, though enthusiasts may adapt pulse-dialing telephones using a pulse-to-tone converter.

Touch-tone


For optimum use, push-button phones utilize dual-tone multi-frequency
Dual-tone multi-frequency
Dual-tone multi-frequency signaling is used for telecommunication signaling over analog telephone lines in the voice-frequency band between telephone handsets and other communications devices and the switching center. The version of DTMF that is used in push-button telephones for tone dialing is...

 (DTMF) signaling, more commonly known as touch-tone dialing, rather than the older and slower pulse dial system. Touch-tone technology was first made available in 1963 with the introduction of the first push-button telephone, though pulse-dialing was still supported by many telephone exchanges. The touch-tone format quickly became the standard dialing system in the United States, especially in the business market, and eventually became the standard worldwide. The push-button touch-tone format is also used for all cell phones.

The telephone buttons are typically arranged in a 3-by-4 grid, including the digits zero through nine, in addition to the star key (*) and the pound/hash sign (#) to accommodate various additional services and customer-controlled calling features. Specific frequencies are assigned to each column and row of push-buttons in the telephone keypad
Telephone keypad
A telephone keypad is a keypad that appears on a "Touch Tone" telephone. It was standardised when the dual-tone multi-frequency system in the new push-button telephone was introduced in the 1960s, which gradually replaced the rotary dial....

; the columns in the push-button pad have higher tones, and rows in the pad have lower tones. When one of the buttons is pressed, a dual-tone signal is generated, based on the frequencies for the selected row and column. A signal representing that tone is then transmitted over the phone line to the telephone exchange.

Features


Push-button telephones have allowed for advancement in telecommunications. Telephones and telecommunications networks have benefited from continued advancements in digital electronics. Electronics within the push-button telephone provides for last number re-dial and storage of commonly called numbers. 'Caller line identification' or "Caller-ID", allows the number of the caller to be displayed on the telephone handset. Some models support additional features, such as retrieval of information and data or code and PIN entry
Personal identification number
A personal identification number is a secret numeric password shared between a user and a system that can be used to authenticate the user to the system. Typically, the user is required to provide a non-confidential user identifier or token and a confidential PIN to gain access to the system...

. Push-button telephones also allow for Internet
Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

-based telecommunications such as VoIP.

See also

  • History of the telephone
  • Keypad
    Keypad
    A keypad is a set of buttons arranged in a block or "pad" which usually bear digits, symbols and usually a complete set of alphabetical letters. If it mostly contains numbers then it can also be called a numeric keypad...

  • Mobile phone
    Mobile phone
    A mobile phone is a device which can make and receive telephone calls over a radio link whilst moving around a wide geographic area. It does so by connecting to a cellular network provided by a mobile network operator...

  • Pulse dialing
    Pulse dialing
    Pulse dialing, dial pulse, or loop disconnect dialing, also called rotary or decadic dialling in the United Kingdom , is pulsing in which a direct-current pulse train is produced by interrupting a steady signal according to a fixed or formatted code for each digit and at a standard pulse repetition...

  • Rotary dial
    Rotary dial
    The rotary dial is a device mounted on or in a telephone or switchboard that is designed to send electrical pulses, known as pulse dialing, corresponding to the number dialed. The early form of the rotary dial used lugs on a finger plate instead of holes. Almon Brown Strowger filed the first patent...

  • Telephone
    Telephone
    The telephone , colloquially referred to as a phone, is a telecommunications device that transmits and receives sounds, usually the human voice. Telephones are a point-to-point communication system whose most basic function is to allow two people separated by large distances to talk to each other...

  • Telephone keypad
    Telephone keypad
    A telephone keypad is a keypad that appears on a "Touch Tone" telephone. It was standardised when the dual-tone multi-frequency system in the new push-button telephone was introduced in the 1960s, which gradually replaced the rotary dial....

  • Touch-tone (DTMF)
  • VoIP