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Calling "The Time" (TI4-) and "The Weather" (WE6-)


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I'm not sure how many Washingtonians remember, but all the exchanges around here used to be listed by two letters followed by a number. For example, my parent's exchange was 622-xxxx, but it was listed as MAyfair2-xxxx, or MA2-xxxx for short.

"The time" and "The weather" were listed as "TI4-xxxx" and "WE6-xxxx," respectively.

If you called TI4-2525 (I'm pretty sure it was any 4 numbers), you'd get, "At the tone, the time will be ... 11 AM, and 40 seconds ... beep! At the tone, the time will be ... 11 AM, and 50 seconds ... beep!" I always wanted to do it right before the changeover to/from Daylight Savings Time, but I never did.

If you called WE6-1212 (it might have been any 4 numbers), you'd get 'the National Weather Report' for "Washington, DC and vicinity," followed by a lengthy (30-60-second report) of the 1-2 day weather. This was all free-of-charge.

As a child, I did both of these regularly, and took it for granted that everyone else in the world did, too.

Thank you to AT&T for providing us with these useful services!

Does anyone know what year they started?

BTW, calling Northern Virginia (or even Potomac) from Silver Spring was a long-distance call, and quite pricey. It somehow "knew" that you were calling long-distance - I'm pretty sure this lasted at least until the end of the 1970s, and you didn't have to dial a "1" before the call. Columbia, MD (eventually, area code 410, was definitely a long-distance call, even-more expensive than a 'local long-distance' call).

Any information about all of this will be much-appreciated.

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Thanks, Don.  You hold on to history.  That was a national phenomena.  We had a similar format, in my town in Jersey the original first three digits were Center 9, shortened to CE9, The adjacent town was Redwood9 shortened to RE9.  And yes pricey long distance back then was not that far away.

I'm a Facebook member of a group called Old Verona, most of whose members were natives of my home town and attended it's school system before during and after I was there;..thousands of members,. It's threads contain stories that recall a trolley to Newark NJ, the original town theater and movie prices that cost $0.25 for a double feature, and similar stories from our collective past, and before my time ( and many after it). Enjoyable reading.  

One thread includes the names of students who have passed away, well over 700 at this point.  It's manager is thanked for memorializing their names.  A thread recalls Yogi Berra getting his morning coffee every day at a local food store and its owner his family and it's regulars.  And so on,

These personal histories are enriching, 

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Here's another one, from the age of rotary phones. If you quickly "clicked" the hang-up thing, it would count as having dialed a number. For example:

If you wanted to make a call to 622-3122 (the phone number of White Oak Junior High School back in the 1960s), you could:

1. Quickly tap the hang-up thing 6 times, then wait a few seconds ...
2. Quickly tap the hang-up thing 2 times, then wait a few seconds ...


My 8th-grade science teacher told us that you could *avoid long-distance charges* by doing this for long-distance calls!

Unfortunately, my dad (who was also my Junior High School principal) caught me, and I had to fess up where I got the information from.

I'm sorry, Mr. Tarner - to this day I feel guilty about your having gotten slapped on the wrist. :(

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It was the same growing up in PA. I think the last 4 digits were 1212 for at least one of those but maybe all (?). In addition to the long distance thing, there was a way of calling your own number and getting it to ring. I forget how we did that. Endless entertainment for kids.

We used to have a metal "temporarily out of service" sign on top of our kitchen phone (black rotary, wall-mount). My father had brought it home from his business, I think. It was designed to put on top of a broken pay phone until the phone company could come out and fix it.

This sign would confuse the hell out of people when they were visiting and wanted to use our phone, even people who been there plenty of times and had never noticed the sign until they went to use the phone. :lol:

I have the "out of service" sign sitting on a bookshelf in my dining room. Probably still technically the property of the Bell System 🤔.

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