Ringing Phones Decade Coincidence

Robertston Davis once said (to paraphrase) that coincidences, which often appear fanastic to us, are actually happening all around us all the time, it’s just that we don’t notice them.

Here’s a weird coincidence that I did notice:

Ten years ago, on November 15, 1992, I submitted an item to comp.dcom.telecom, a Usenet newsgroup, as follows:

I am assisting a novice theatre director in staging a play. We need to make a stand-alone, not-connected-to-phone line phone ring. I assume this involved a battery, switch and some wires. Which ones and what voltage battery?
The novice director was my friend Stephen, and he was staging a play at an erstwhile underground “secretly sell beer to pay the rent” theatre space call The Union.

The comp.dcom.telecom newsgroup was moderated by a wonderful man named Pat Townson, who ensured that the discussion — mostly about telephones and telephone companies — stayed relatively focused and intelligent. Getting an item published by Pat was, for me, tantamount to getting a piece published in the New York Times. Well, maybe not that great. But it was pretty special.

I did receive several replies, though oddly I can’t remember whether or not we every did make the phone ring or not.

The concidence is this: this morning, almost ten years later to the day, a package arrived by FedEx from Digium in Alabama containing a device they call an S100U that I can plug into the USB port on my computer and, you guessed it, make a telephone ring.

Stephen’s since moved to Lubbock, and I want to make the phone ring for an entirely different purpose, but ring it does, and that’s sort of neat.


Ken's picture
Ken on November 13, 2002 - 18:47 Permalink

It takes 70-90 volts at 20Hz to ring a phone.
Here is the ultimate device for theater, the Tele-Q.

Alan's picture
Alan on November 13, 2002 - 18:54 Permalink

…for 139.95 USD, couldn’t someone off stage make a “brrrrrrrinnnnnngggg” sound with their lips?

Andrew's picture
Andrew on November 13, 2002 - 20:25 Permalink

Or just get a tape player to play the ring sound…

stephengood's picture
stephengood on November 13, 2002 - 23:24 Permalink

i know we figured it out but i thought we had to try diff. things including saying ring/ring and using the tape — but i thought we got the actual phone wired up in such a way that you could push a button and make the actual phone ring. but amazing how many ways you could solve the problem now compared to then, eh? ah, memory…