List of original NANPA area codes

List of original NANPA area codes

In order to facilitate direct dialing calls, the North American Numbering Plan was created and instituted in 1947 by AT&T, also known as the Bell System. These 3 digit numbers were given to all regions throughout the United States and Canada. At first, the codes were used only by long-distance operators; the first customer-dialed calls using area codes did not occur until November 10, 1951, when the first directly dialed call was made from Englewood, New Jersey to Alameda, California.[1] Direct dialing was gradually implemented throughout the continent, and by the mid-1960s, it was commonplace in most larger cities.

Originally there were only 86 codes, with the most prominent and frequently dialed population areas getting the numbers that took the shortest time to dial on rotary telephones.[2] This is why, for example, New York City was assigned 212, Los Angeles 213, Chicago 312 and Detroit 313. Additionally, in the original plan a middle digit of zero indicated the area code covered an entire state/province, while area codes with a middle digit of one were assigned to states/provinces that were divided into more than one area code. In the original plan, the middle digit in an area code was always zero or one, so as not to conflict with local telephone exchanges, which were assigned one of the middle digits two through nine.

List of original area codes

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