My question is related to this question I asked earlier on the cost of a telephone call in the 1920s in the United States of America.

Now, I am interested in the whole period from 1920 until 1960 and I would like to know which way of calling was more popular at the time: Station-to-station calling or person-to-person calling?

As I understand, calling station-to-station was cheaper, but one ran into the risk of being charged for a call where the call would have been picked up by someone other than the desired person. Person-to-person calls on the other hand were operator assisted and made sure that the dialing person was not charged unless the call reached the desired person at the other end.

In a very informal source, I have read that person-to-person calls were more popular when calls overall where more expensive (and the people not used to the technology). This would make sense because people would not want to risk to pay an expensive sum for a call picked up by the wrong person.

I appreciate any anecdotal evidence (if you have experienced this personally at some time) and any sources or statistics that can make me credibly identify which method was more common in any of the decades between 1920 and 1960 (or even later).

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    Another factor might be the need to use directory assistance to find out whether the desired party even had a telephone. – bgwiehle Feb 2 '17 at 17:15
  • True. The way I currently understand it, though, is that both station-to-station and person-to-person calls were assisted by an operator who (I assume) could also have given directory assistance. So the difference between both methods was not in the amount of assistance but in what the dialer was billed for as I described above. I think. Maybe it is not correct, what do you think? – eigenvector Feb 2 '17 at 17:34
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    @bgwiehle In the good old days, directory assistance was free. – bof Feb 3 '17 at 10:27
  • @bgwiehle As in "Long distance information, give me Memphis, Tennessee Help me find the party trying to get in touch with me She could not leave her number, but I know who placed the call Because my uncle took the message and he wrote it on the wall Help me, information, get in touch with my Marie She's the only one who'd phone me here from Memphis, Tennessee..." – kimchi lover May 2 at 2:23

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