Operator. May I help you?: Bell Canada's 125 Years
Let Your Fingers Do the Tapping. Try a Touch-Tone Telephone
1969, 20th century
Bell Canada Historical Collection
This artefact belongs to: © Bell Canada
Keys to History
The Push-Button Telephone
Push-button phones are now the norm. In June 1964, Touch-Tone service was inaugurated in Montreal and in Malton, Ontario. With the push-button telephone replacing the rotary dial phone, combined with electronic switching technology introduced in 1967, the plain old phone became a data terminal.
Over the years, many new services have been introduced - speed calling, three-way calling, call forwarding, call management (call display, call screen, call trace, call return) - to ensure confidentiality, security and convenience through better control of incoming calls. As a result, subscribers have better control of the use of their phones.
The push-button phone has replaced the dial phone. In a recent survey of Americans, Touch-Tone calling was deemed to be the most important business communications advance of the 20th century.
Touch-Tone service was first introduced in Montreal and Malton, Ontario.
Launched by Bell Labs in the U.S. in 1963, the push-button phone was soon adopted in Canada. In 1964 Bell Canada began to offer Touch-Tone service in Ontario and Quebec. In 1967 other phone companies implemented it in the Western provinces.
Touch-Tone technology was developed by Bell Labs engineers in the United States. Over 40,000 inventions have been generated at Bell Labs, which were founded in 1925.