AT&T says: No More dialing for time

Pacific Bell SBC AT&T has announced that the phone numbers that tell the time will be discontinued later this month. The "Time of Day information service" has been in available in Nevada and California since the 1920s. AT&T says the 1960s equipment used is failing, and no replacement parts are available. (I guess it's beyond their tech savvy to hook up something new with a $199 PC.)

In some areas, the phone number for time is POPCORN; in the LA area it is 853-1212. Because the entire 767 and 853 exchanges are devoted to the time service taking the service down will free up some 300,000 phone numbers.

A funny quote from an LA Times article on the subject: "In the 1950s, a woman named Mary Moore emerged as the nation's leading time-teller. Her reading of hours, minutes and seconds was delivered in a distinctive if somewhat prissy tone. Moore's odd pronunciation of the numbers 5 ("fiyev") and 9 ("niyun") influenced a generation of operators, much as flying ace Chuck Yeager's West Virginia drawl is said to have been adopted by innumerable airline pilots."

Sure, there are a bazillion other ways to find out the time now, but dialing for the time is a, uh, time-honored tradition.

You can still call (303) 499-7111 to get the time from the National Institute of Standards and Technology's atomic clock.

2 Responses to “AT&T says: No More dialing for time”

  1. gary price Says:

    The US Naval Observatory in DC also offers a time service.
    1-202-762-1401

  2. bill Says:

    another way to get the time by phone:dial 1(800)555-8355 or 411@proxy01.sipphone.com(sip) and say “time. ” the system checks your area code for the correct time zone and speaks the current time. to switch time zones, speak the timezones you hear after the time.
    hope that helped

    fondly,
    Bill Dengler
    p.s. that number also includes handy tools like weather, news, movies, stok quotes, lottery, airlines, taxy, etc

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