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Phone Directory and its History!

by infohub

The Phone Directory and Phone Number Directory History

Back in the 90's, no home didn't have the big and bulky yellow pages phone directory that had the names and numbers of people based on the area they lived in. That big bulky book evolved to online registries of people, but most of us don't know how the phone number directory came about, way back when, not every home had a phone line. Step into the past and find out the history behind the phone directory you can now easily access online.

The History Behind the Phone Directory

The phone directory, better known as a telephone directory, lists the phone numbers and addresses of residents in a specific geographical area, and it allows us to track down people according to their name and address. This is the current form of the phone directory, but what was it like before all of us had phones?

the phone directory - a Rolodex
Source: shutterstock

The first widely publicized city directory came out in the 18th century, even before the invention of the phone, and it had the names of inhabitants in a particular area. After the invention of the telephone, the city directory expended to include the telephone numbers of residents, and it consisted of a single piece of cardboard.

That short and preliminary phone number directory consisted of 50 phone number and was issued on February 21st, 1878. The phone numbers in the directory were of businesses, residents, and offices in New Haven, Connecticut, that owned phones.

50 years later, in 1938, AT&T commissioned the creation of BELL GOTHIC – a new kind of font, that could be read even in very small print, which will be later used in phone number directories. In 1991, the U.S. Supreme Court made phone listings public property, stating that phone companies cannot have copyrights on gathering information. The ruling made it possible to list people's phone numbers and release them in a yellow page's book.

phone number directory - a group of people holding cell phones
Source: shutterstock

Online Phone Directories

After the internet became common in many households in the United States, the written phone directories were transformed into online directories. The first online directories went online in 1996, and have since evolved a great deal. These days you can find a person's phone number based on their name and vice versa. GoLookUp's reverse phone number directory allows you to search for the name of a person based on their phone number and reveal much more information. With GoLookUp's reverse address lookup, you can search for information based on an address and find criminal records, aliases, social media information and much more.

The phone number directory we now know had an interesting start, and from 50 numbers it now has hundreds of millions of numbers that allow us all to connect with one another.


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