18th Day of November

1963 – The first push-button telephone goes into service

The push-button telephone is a telephone that has buttons or keys for dialling a telephone number.

On 18 November 1963, after approximately three years of customer testing, the Bell System in the United States officially introduced dual-tone multi-frequency (DTMF) technology under its registered trademark Touch-Tone.

Western Electric experimented as early as 1941 with methods of using mechanically activated reeds to produce two tones for each of the ten digits and by the late 1940s such technology was field-tested in a No. 5 Crossbar switching system in Pennsylvania.

1963 – The first push-button telephone goes into service

But the technology proved unreliable and it was not until long after the invention of the transistor is when the push-button technology matured.

Over the next few decades touch-tone service replaced traditional pulse dialling technology and it eventually became a world-wide standard for telecommunication signalling.

Extra Note: Although DTMF was the driving technology implemented in push-button telephones, some telephone manufacturers used push-button keypads to generate pulse dial signalling.

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