Historic Telephone Sounds

Sounds of Long Distance

Today, every phone call you make sounds basically the same. However, back in the days of electromechanical switching, calls sounded quite different, depending on where you were calling, the type of local central office you were calling from, and the sometimes complicated route to get from one place to another. Read more and hear examples of REAL Long Distance calls!

Ringback and Busy Signal Tones

Before the standard, synthesized ring and busy tones heard today, those sounds were generated by large rotating machines and analog electronics. There was a wide array of different equipment used in different places, so that no two exchanges sounded exactly the same. Hear a variety of Ringback tones and Busy Signals in this gallery. (49 tracks)

Intercept Service

There are many ways to dial a wrong number, and the Phone Company had many different ways to deal with misdialed calls. Explore the history of Intercept Service, from manual intercept operators to Jane Barbe’s fabulous AIS!

Elmer’s Gallery of Vintage Telephone Sounds

Enjoy hundreds of Vintage Telephone Sounds and download your favorites from Elmer’s Gallery – Many more tracks are being added soon!

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