[vcf-midatlantic] AT&T Dataphone - Modem or "Service"?

Jeffrey Jonas jeffrey.scott.jonas at gmail.com
Thu Aug 8 03:58:36 EDT 2019


The short-short of it: citing
http://www.bitsavers.org/pdf/att/000-111_ATT_Documentation_Guide_Nov87.pdf
    Dataphone is a registered trademark of AT&T

I saw the Dataphone label on all sorts of modems:
SDLC, async, dialup and probably leased line as well.


Citing Justin Jernigan's posting

> It was a Service, appears to still be,
> though likely no longer actively sold.
> It's one of the first digital services tariffed by the telephone companies ...
> This was pre-divestiture, so service and equipment were "one"

Set the wayback machine to 1976 (the US Bicentennial).

"Ma Bell" was a regulated monopoly, personified in many ways,
most memorably Lily Tomlin's character Ernestine the switchboard operator.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lily_Tomlin

But internally, Bell System folks were extremely proud of their work,
creating and maintaining "the best phone service in the world".

You were not allowed to own phone equipment: it was all leased
thus all the Western Electric phones saying "not for sale".
Add an extension phone and you'd get a "service call" to force you to
disconnect it.
Even after-market equipment was forbidden, such as the "name caller" auto-dialer
(which pulse-dialed numbers you filled onto a plastic belt
with an electrographic pencil).

New York City high schools all had an IBM RJE (remote job entry) terminal:
card reader and line printer, to a modem the operator had to manually dial
with a rotary phone (no smart modems, yet!).
At the other end was an IBM 360/370 running HASP or JES for batch jobs.

As to the rack of modems the Original Poster remembers:
that's probably intended for the receiving end:
answer-only or answer-mostly mode.
UUCP was the only way I was aware of AT&T hardware weirdness
where the dialer was separate from the modem.

-- jeff jonas


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