When dial telephone service was begun, telephone numbers often consisted of the first two letters of a word, followed by five numerals. Glenn Miller’s band played the song “Pennsylvania 6-5000,” and the title of the John O’Hara novel Butterfield 8 was a reference to the telephone exchange of the characters.
Between 1958 and 1962, the telephone exchange for Sandusky was MAIN, and the exchange for Castalia was MUTUAL. By correlating the first two letters of each of those exchanges to the telephone buttons, the numeric equivalent is 62 for MAIN and 68 for MUTUAL.
As demand for telephone service grew, the decision was made to switch to all number calling, which allowed for more efficient use of the supply of numbers. An article from the May 11, 1962 Time magazine entitled “By the Numbers” referred to the all number calling plan as a “numerological nightmare.” Dr. Leo Goldberger stated that the use of seven numbers without the letter exchange was similar to an Army serial number, with a loss of individual identity. He continued “one becomes…not only an insignificant cog in a great machine, but anonymous as well.”
Of course, now in the U.S. telephone numbers must include the area code, with the result of each phone number having a total of ten digits. Cellular telephones and phone service through Cable have added exponentially to the number of telephone numbers that exist. The Archives Research Center of the Sandusky Library owns historical city directories for several decades. Browsing through these directories, you can find the names of people and businesses from the past, sometimes with a telephone number listed.