Wednesday Open Line

We still use the word “dial” to refer to the act of calling someone on the phone — even though a great many of us have never used a rotary phone or seen one, except in old movies and TV shows. Push-button, or touch-tone, phones made their debut on this date in 1963. At the time, the service was an extra cost option and was available only in two cities in Pennsylvania. It didn’t take long, however, for the speed of placing calls on the new phones to make them popular. In 1963, 81 percent of U.S. homes had telephones. That percentage grew to become almost universal, but the landline percentage has been dropping since 1998, as cell phones more and more become the phone of choice. Now, 89 percent of American households have cell phones. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <>.