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  #1  
Old December 14th, 2012, 01:29 PM
Greg Pogue Greg Pogue is offline
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Default Time-Temperature

Remember the "time-temperature" telephone service? The number was 844-6611. I think you could dial 844 plus any four digits and get the same result, e.g. "844-1111." You would hear an ad for "Republic Bank" and the announcer would give the time and temperature. The number still works in the 817 area code and is sponsored by Chase Bank, but it is not the same voice, and it gives a brief weather forcast.

The time/temperature number would usually be busy if it was really cold or very hot, because thousands of people would be calling to get the temperature. It would also be busy at around midnight on New Year's Eve.

Here's what I want to know:

1. What kind of equipment was available back in the 60's and earlier that enabled a caller to get a recorded voice that told the current time and temperature? Was it on tape? Was it some kind of primitive 'computer?'
2. Why did we think it was accurate? Where was the temperature sensor? How did they set the "clock" and calibrate it for accuracy?
3. Who was the voice? Someone at the bank? Some generic announcer who also did other radio and TV announcements? It sounded like the hour and minutes were recorded seperately. So, did he have to record "oh-one, oh two, etc., all the way up to "fifty-nine?"

It's just a little piece of my childhood that I was thinking about a few weeks ago.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 03:05 PM
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sfotadmin sfotadmin is offline
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Default Re: Time-Temperature

I would assume it was a tape loop type of system that had short loops for all the different combinations of 1-12, and 1-60. I assume the temp sensor was in downtown Ft. Worth. I do remember calling it on Christmas day to set my new Timex in 1969. And you are right.. it could be busy at those times.
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Old December 31st, 2012, 09:22 PM
JStroop JStroop is offline
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Default Re: Time-Temperature

I wondered the same things, Greg. I did eventually figure out that it was spliced together recordings chunks of monologue - you could hear the gaps and unnatural pauses if you listened close enough.

The same guy did the voice for that service for a LONG time.

I remember a couple times when that number had some snafu or bug where everyone who called it was just able to talk to everyone else who called it at the same time. That was pretty strange. I heard some interesting conversations that day.
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Old January 16th, 2013, 04:00 PM
Greg Pogue Greg Pogue is offline
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Default Re: Time-Temperature

Quote:
Originally Posted by JStroop View Post
I remember a couple times when that number had some snafu or bug where everyone who called it was just able to talk to everyone else who called it at the same time. That was pretty strange. I heard some interesting conversations that day.
Yeah, that was when there was a high volume of calls, e.g. when it was very cold. You could barely hear the other callers and had to shout to talk to them. Sort of a primitive form of social media.

Found a photo somewhere that might have been the device, but I lost it.
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