https://goo.gl/images/n8gwFs This link may, if I did it right, lead to a picture of an old wooden crank phone similar to what we had when I was a child. We did have numbers, but only 2 digits. We were sometimes on a party line. Each number would have a distinctive ring, e.g. 2 longs and a short. As I recall you could ring someone on your line without going through the operator. You could also pick up the receiver and listen in on a neighbor’s conversation.