TouchTone Telephone


Touch-Tone Telephone Essay, Research Paper

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. When using the rotary dial phone it takes longer to dial and if you turn the wrong number you have to start all over again. With the accomplishment of the touch ? tone telephone, all you have to do is push the numbers that you need.

When you think about it, technology has really come a long way with the telephone. Touch ? tone dialing is just one of the many ways in which telephones have upgraded over the years. From the touch ? tone phone we now have cellular phones. It seems to me that almost everyone in the 1990?s has a cellular telephone. The advances in cellular technology have only added to the convenience of the telephone. If I was alive during the sixties I would never have thought there would be anything like this.

People who weren?t alive when the touch ? tone phone came about wouldn?t really understand the convenience of it. We don?t know what it was like to use a rotary telephone because we were taught using the touch ? tone phone. ?It doesn?t affect me, since the phone was already a modern convenience by the time I was introduced to it? (interview).

The invention of the touch ? tone phone influences the way we think about accomplishments today. Before the touch ? tone telephone there were rotary dial telephones. The touch ? tone phone is important to everyone today because it is an easier way of dialing and without it we wouldn?t have cellular phones or portable phones.



Brooks, J. (1976). Telephone : the first hundred years. New York : Harper and Row. Pp. 266-67.

Caristi, A. (1979). Electronic telephone projects. Indiana : Howard W. Sams & Co. Pp. 76-84.

Rogers, T. (1980). You and your telephone. Indiana : Howard W. Sams & Co. Pp. 29-32.

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