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Saturday 27th August 2016
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Why are police 999 when 9 took ages to dial on a rotary phone?


rotary phoneOn a rotary dial phone, the 9 and 0 take the longest to dial. So why is the emergency services number 999?
Natasha, Sutton


** Definitive **
Name: John, Buckhurst Hill
Qualification: Telephone engineer for 40 years
Answer: James, your answer was absolute twaddle. Many years ago, calls were made by pulse dialling, one pulse for a one, two for two etc. You used to have two wires leading from a house - those two white boxes - and when the wind blew, sometimes the wires would touch and cause one pulse. If the number was 111, it would clog the emergency services line, so they went with 999 instead.

** 100% wrong! **
Name: James O'Brien
Qualification: We've answered this before on Mystery Hour
Answer: It's because you can easily find the 9 just by feel without being able to see. The 9 was next to the metal bit on old phones.
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