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Catlin History Online

1934 Phone Book

Phone service in 1934 --

Dr. Dewhirst had a private, party line.

Charles Voigt's drugstore had the easiest number to remember -- "1". (Was he the first to subscribe? E-mail me)

Everyone living on the two "Rural Routes" were on party lines, including the Peabody Coal Co. mine office.

Of the 180 subscribers, only 71 had private lines. The other 109 shared 34 numbers via party lines.

Those are the highlights of a perusal of the 1934 Illinois Bell phone book donated to the Catlin Heritage Museum by Frank Rice.

Dr. E. M. Dewhirst's office at 3 E. Davis and his home at 23 Sandusky both had phones on line 21. If the operator rang the line three times, that was a call for the office. If the bell rang twice, that was a call for home. Of course the bells rang both at home and at the office. Whereever Dr. Dewhirst was, he could be reached in an emergency. (There were no other phones on that line.)

Many party line numbers had two-digit ring codes. For example, Charles Nesbitt's home number on Rural Route 1 was 95-13. That meant to signal a call to his phone, the operator would ring either one short and three longs or one long and three shorts. (Can you help us clarify that point? E-mail me) The signal for the phone in the Richard Puzey home (95-11), the operator would ring one short and one long (or one long and one short).

The 1934 book had some brief instructions on using the telephone:

How to Use the Telephone

When using the telephone speak distinctly in a moderate tone of voice.

To recall the operator on a Common Battery telephone (one where you signal the operator by merely lifting the receiver from the hook) on a connection, move the receiver hook up and down slowly three or four times.

On a Magneto telephone (one where you signal the operator by turning a crank) if you wish to recall the operator hang up the receiver and give the handle one quick turn.

Illinois Bell also included some instructions for the majority of subscribers using the party lines:

Party Lines

All subscribers on the line have equal rights; for that reason calls should be reasonably limited in length of conversation. To make for efficient service and to prevent annoyance to others on the line the following rules should be observed.

When you wish to call, remove the receiver and listen. If the line is in use, restore the receiver to the hook and wait for those using the line to finish.

Always answer your own signal. If there is any confusion about the rings, report the facts to the Supervisor.

Although toll rates for calls from Catlin to other nearby towns were not included in the book, the toll for calls from Danville to Catlin was -- 10 cents.

Tell me what you remember about telephone service in Catlin. How long did the party lines continue? Did neighbors listen in when the phone rang on a party line? E-mail me.

 The Illinois Bell Telephone Company was formed in 1920.

 Alphabetical list of 1934 subscribers.

 Subscribers list by telephone number

 Businesses with phones.

 Subscribers on Rural Route 1

 Subscribers on Rural Route 8.

 Subscribers by village street:

-- Davis

-- Paris

-- Sandusky

-- Vermilion

-- Webster

Catlin Historical Society
210 North Paris
Catlin, Illinois 61817
(217) 427-5766