The History of Area Code Assignments

by Christopher Paul on April 17, 2011

Speaking of area codes, the the original plan only had 86 numbers and were designed with the rotary phone in mind based on the affected population:

…the biggest population areas getting the numbers that took the shortest time to dial on rotary telephones. Thus New York City was given 212, Los Angeles 213, Chicago 312, Dallas 214, Detroit 313, Pittsburgh 412; while four areas received the then-maximum number of 21 clicks: South Dakota (605), North Carolina (704), South Carolina (803), and the Maritime Provinces of Canada (902). Additionally, in the original plan a middle digit of 0 indicated the area code covered an entire state/province, while area codes with a middle digit of 1 were assigned to jurisdictions that were divided into multiple area codes.

Also, the very original plan that first came out in 1946 had New York getting 212, 213, 214, 215, and 216. By the time it was finalized and adopted in 1947, things were very different. Also, 201 for New Jersey, was the first code assigned but not used until 1951.

I bet some of you are wondering what a rotary phone is.

Previous post:

Next post: