BT Archives


Events in Telecommunications History

1963

International Subscriber Trunk Dialling (ISD) was introduced on 8 March, allowing London subscribers to dial Paris numbers.

The Commonwealth trans-Pacific cable (COMPAC) was laid between Canada and Australia. The PO cableship HMTS 'Monarch' (No. 4) participated in the lay.

The third transatlantic telephone cable (TAT 3) was opened between Tuckerton, New Jersey, United States and Widemouth Bay, Britain. It was taken out of service in 1986 after 23 years of service.

Operator dialling on telephone circuits between Britain and the United States was introduced.

New clocks using a revolving magnetic drum replaced the original speaking clock introduced in 1936. The 79 separate phrases required for a 12-hour clock were recorded as circular tracks spaced 1/16 inch apart along the length of the drum. The pips were not recorded on the drum but were derived from an oscillator. The Speaking Clock had accuracy to approximately 1/20 second. Like the first clock, the second speaking clock had its accuracy calibrated and corrected by referencing to a time signal from the Royal Greenwich Observatory, broadcast by Rugby Radio Station.

A competition to find a replacement for Miss Jane Cain's voice  for the Speaking Clock was won by Miss Pat Simmons, a supervisor in a London telephone exchange. She was to be heard until Mr Brian Cobby replaced her.

The new cordless international telex switchboard was opened at Fleet Exchange, London.

The Post Office introduced Answering Machine No 2. Like its predecessor it was an answer only model, but with a longer message facility (of up to three minutes), this second version was more suited for use on information lines. Its first use was in Birmingham, for a "Dial-a-Prayer" service. The first Post Office / British Telecom supplied answering / recording machine was not nationally available until 1981.

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