A Brief History
On November 18, 1963, Bell Telephone introduced a new way to dial a telephone, something referred to as “dual-tone multi-frequency” (DTMF) technology, or Touch-Tone (the trademarked name) dialing. Also known as push button phones, these would go on to replace the old rotary dial type of telephone (also known as “pulse dialing”) so that today it is rare to even see an old fashioned dial type phone.
Making a lot of calls in the old days was tedious, and tired, sloppy fingers would often slip out of the little round fingertip receptacles causing the caller to have to start over. We even had ball point pens with special indented tops sized to conveniently fit into the telephone dial to make dialing easier.
If you think this is a minor step in telephone evolution, just thing what it would be like to have a cell phone with a rotary dial on it! Incredibly, push button dialing was being developed as long ago as the 1880’s.
Did exist, Mail order guns. On the other hand, when I was a lad a person could order a firearm by mail order and receive it without any government scrutiny. This is exactly how Lee Harvey Oswald obtained his rifle that he shot President Kennedy with. Oswald had ordered the Italian made Model 1891 Carcano 6.5mm rifle along with a Smith & Wesson .38 special using an alias by mail order in March of 1963. Today it is hard to believe things were so different barely over 50 years ago. Oswald paid only $19.95 (or $19.99 depending on source) for the rifle and scope together, another thing quite different than now. (Of course, as with so many “facts” about the JFK assassination, the price and source of the rifle are debated.)
The Gun Control Act of 1968 put an end to mail order guns directly to a consumer. Today, if you order a firearm via the mail or internet, it will be shipped directly to a Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder who is required to have you fill out the appropriate paperwork and call in your info for a background check.
Did not exist, Designer Dogs. Back in the 1950’s we did not have Labradoodles, Puggles, Yorkipoos, Goldendoodles, and these other goofy and expensive concoctions of dog breeds. Dogs that were not pure bred were a variety of inexpensive and common pet we called “mutts.” These so called “mutts” required no special care and were cheaper than AKC registered dogs. Surprisingly, you can still find mutts today, nice looking and highly serviceable dogs often for an inexpensive price if you go to your local pet store or animal shelter instead of seeking a special breeder of designer dogs. Basset Hound and Beagle mix? New Yorkers know them as “Bagels!” The idea of calling a mutt something special and charging more ranks up there with the Pet Rock for ingenuity.
Did not exist, Billy Bob Teeth. Invented in 1993 by a dental student and a dentist that had a moment of inspiration while watching a guy with bad teeth at a football game, these hilarious teeth come in several varieties, including pacifiers for infants that make them look like your relatives from ______ (fill in the state or country you want to insult). I wore a set to a wedding in Kentucky. Some people laughed, some did not. Oh well…
Did exist, Billy Bob Teeth. Unfortunately, back in the 1950’s these were our real teeth, not denture quality joke reproductions.
Times change, and things come and go. Question for students (and subscribers): Tell us some of the items that did or did not exist when you were born. Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
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For more information, please see…
Sports Illustrated, November 18, 1963.