1962 Yellow Pages: How the office has changed over 50 years

August 4, 2016 Mark Glucki

Yellow Pages old-school

I was recently visiting my folks and they had come across an old MTS phone book and yellow pages. My dad thought it was left in his '56 Buick Special he had back in the day, and although the car is now in others' hands, the phone book hung around.

This old directory was a complete blast from the past, and I was so excited about the novelty of flipping it open. To me, I thought it was like seeing the pages of a Mad Men script, about to reveal the secrets of office culture from the 1960s.

And I wasn't disappointed.

I grabbed my smartphone and snapped shots of this revelatory blast from the past. There were advertisements with what would now be outdated wording and questionable phrases. There were classic graphics and photos, showing how life may have looked back in the day. There was even a guide on what to do in case of emergency sirens sounding in the area, presumably in the event of a nuclear attack during the Cold War years. And there were amazing symbols of how Winnipeg has changed dramatically, and some things that have stayed just the same. 

But what really struck me, aside from the inventive telephone numbers of EDison 4-3556, etc, was how technology has changed. You can see it all when you let your fingers do the walking through that old book. Here are some snapshots to take you back over 50 years.

Snazzy looking book!

I guess voicemail was a little different back then. 

The listing for MTS starts with "teletype service."

Salisbury House always a favourite - then and now.

The restaurant ads were particularly great. I wish I could get some of that lobster from The Ivanhoe. Does anybody remember going to this restaurant, and how was it? I'd love to know.

I got a kick out of the format of the phone numbers.

No chemicals to mix?! You mean I might have had to mix chemicals?!

Oh, that's why there's a kitchen phone in every old movie and TV show. Handy, yes, but insert eye roll.

Classy desk.

Quite the contraption! Swiffer wasn't invented yet.

There were a lot of ads for coal and fuel oil.

If only they had a smartphone.

The "Take Cover" is definitely alarming.

A new telephone number system is entering the market...

...and new equipment for 1962.

What did you think of this blast from the past? Tell us in the comments below.

About the Author

Mark Glucki

Mark has grown digital blog communities to connect Canadian business and tech pros by focusing on creating relatable content that everyone can enjoy. He developed a North American best practice on creating great experiences on social networks and spends as much time thinking of the end reader as he does writing content. Mark is also a commercial photographer focusing on product and location images. His work can be seen at Wonderlab Photo.

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