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Kirt Blattenberger (KB3UON)

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Electronics-Themed Comics
May 1960 Radio-Electronics

May 1960 Radio-Electronics

May 1960 Radio-Electronics Cover - RF Cafe[Table of Contents]

Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles from Radio-Electronics, published 1930-1988. All copyrights hereby acknowledged.

Three of the most popular topics for comics back in the day when these appeared in Radio−Electronics magazine were stereo system fanatics, the battle between television owners and servicemen, and the notion that electronics product sales people were a bunch of charlatans. The comic on page 98 is pretty funny, although it might be considered somewhat unacceptable by today's easily offended population. Seeing the telephone number with a two-letter prefix (e.g., Rick and Lucy Ricardo's MUrray Hill5-9975 meant their number was M[6]U[8]5-9975) reminded me of the webpage I found explaining the system. In 1957, standard dial telephones did not have a number with "Q" on it (prefix in the comic is "EQ"), but was added to the "7" button on touch tone phones to facilitate entering names via DTMF encoding. It mentions that many users opposed the elimination of the prefixes and going to all numbers, including two organized groups - the Anti-Digit Dialing League and the Committee of Ten Million to Oppose All-Number Calling. Coalitions of concerned citizens for every conceivable issue has been around for a long time.

Electronics-Themed Comics

Electronics-Themed Comics (p85) - RF Cafe

"Takes a while to warm up."
Page 85

Electronics-Themed Comics (p98) - RF Cafe

"Friends, do you see a double image on your TV Screens? Call EQ 0-0001 for expert TV repair."
Page 98

Electronics-Themed Comics (p121) - RF Cafe

"This must be the place."
Page 121

 - See Full List - 

Anti-Digit Dialing League

The Anti-Digit Dialing League was a movement that emerged in the United States in the late 1950s and early 1960s, in response to the growing use of all-number calling (also known as "digit dialing") for telephone calls. At the time, most telephone calls were made by dialing a combination of letters and numbers, which corresponded to the name of the telephone exchange and the number of the individual phone line. For example, if you wanted to call someone in the "Broadway" exchange, you would dial "BR" and then the corresponding numbers.

However, with the advent of direct-dial long-distance calling, it became necessary to use all-number dialing, which was seen by some as an impersonal and dehumanizing way to communicate. The Anti-Digit Dialing League was formed to protest against this trend and to advocate for the retention of the traditional letter-and-number system.

Despite the efforts of the League, all-number dialing eventually became the standard for telephone calls in the United States and in many other countries around the world. However, some telephone companies continued to offer letter-and-number dialing as an option for many years, and some people still use it today for nostalgic or practical reasons.

 - See Full List - 

Committee of Ten Million to Oppose All-Number Calling

The Committee of Ten Million to Oppose All-Number Calling was an organization that was formed in 1960 in the United States in response to the increasing use of all-number dialing for telephone calls. Like the Anti-Digit Dialing League, the Committee of Ten Million believed that all-number calling was impersonal and dehumanizing, and that it threatened to erode the community and social values that were associated with traditional letter-and-number dialing.

The organization was founded by Reverend John "Jolly John" H. Griffin, an African American Baptist minister from Louisiana who was also a civil rights activist. Griffin believed that all-number calling was part of a larger trend of technological dehumanization and that it disproportionately affected minority communities, who were more likely to rely on telephone services as a means of communication.

The Committee of Ten Million used a variety of tactics to oppose all-number calling, including public demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, and legal action. They also tried to raise public awareness about the issue by distributing pamphlets, staging mock funerals for the traditional dialing system, and organizing boycotts of telephone services.

Despite their efforts, all-number dialing eventually became the standard for telephone calls in the United States and in many other countries around the world. However, the Committee of Ten Million is remembered as an important voice in the history of telecommunications and as an early example of grassroots activism against technological change.



Posted March 8, 2023

These Technically−Themed Comics Appeared in Vintage Electronics Magazines. I personally scanned and posted every one from copies I own (and even colorized some).

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About RF Cafe

Kirt Blattenberger - RF Cafe Webmaster

1996 - 2024


Kirt Blattenberger,


RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling 2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps while tying up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got Mail" when a new message arrived...

Copyright  1996 - 2026

All trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other rights of ownership to images and text used on the RF Cafe website are hereby acknowledged.

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