Canada and the United States paralleled
each other in telephone technology and in telephone history. The last
mechanical (crossbar and step by step) systems were in the far
outreaches of the "Great White North" of Canada. Here are examples
from these last great mechanical switching systems.
Files are in MP3
format. Click on a link to listen.
Detour Lake, Ontario
Detour Lake was an old coal mining facility in northern Ontario. The
coal mine shut down in the mid-1990s. The old step by step phone
switch lasted until sometime in late 2001. As far as I am able to
determine, the old switch was NOT converted to digital, but was closed
down. These recordings were made in September 2000.
I'm not exactly sure what kind of switch this is. Some say it is a
step by step, yet I think the ring is from a crossbar (Northern
Electric, a clone of the Western Electric Number 5 Crossbar). These
recordings were made in April 1998.
As far as telephone historians are able to determine, Nantes was the
last step by step switch in the US and Canada. It was converted to a
full digital Nortel DMS-10 on June 14, 2002. When this was a step by
step, the exchange was so small that customers there could dial a call
on their home exchange by using either the last 3 or 4 digits. These
recordings were made from dialing into the exchange from the United
States in September 2000.
"Evan Doorbell" made some excellent
narrated recordings from a pay phone in Nantes in August 2001. These
recordings (and many others) can be found at the
Phone Trips website.
Vintage Sounds Pages
Automatic Electric Step by Step Sounds
Stromberg-Carlson XY Sounds
Western Electric Crossbar Sounds
Canadian Vintage Sounds
Main Sounds Index Pages
Modern Telephone Sounds Main Page
Vintage Telephone Sounds Main Page
International Telephone Sounds Main Page
Miscellaneous Telephone Sounds Main Page
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Page last modified December 20, 2008
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