Now, let's compare a talking car with a high tech phone system to what we used to have. We were actually pretty primitive in comparison. When I was a kid, we had a black phone with a wire that ran into the wall. Cell phones and wireless technology and bluetooth hadn't been thought of yet. In fact, our phones had mechanical, analog dials on them. Rotary dials, we called them. And we had phone numbers with names, like CLifton 7, or DRexel 4, BUtterfield 8, and others.
We also had something interesting called "party lines." It was kind of a Twitter of the fifties. The necessity of these party lines was probably due to the fact that the phone company didn't have enough lines installed to give everyone their own private line. And when the phone rang, you had to listen to the ring and see if it was yours before answering it. Ours was a long and a short ring. If you wanted to make an outgoing call, you picked up the receiver and checked to see if there was a party liner already using the phone. If so, good manners told you to hang up and check later. If not, you could go ahead and make your call.
In 1959 things started improving dramatically when ATT introduced the new Princess Phone. Contemporary advertising shows that this telephone was marketed to women, hence the feminine designation 'Princess'. A broad range of colors were offered, including pink, red, yellow, moss green, black, white, beige, ivory, light blue, turquoise, and gray. And four years later, in 1963, Western Electric introduced touchtone dialing which replaced the rotary dial with 10 lighted push buttons. We were in the modern age now. Everyone eventually got their own private line and the party line became a thing of the past.
In time the Princess was redesigned and became the Trimline phone. You may remember these as the slim units with the push button dial built into the handset.