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The exchange rang a distinct ring down the Gundabluie 1 line, signalling the party's corresponding letter in Morse code.This distinctive ring would alert all parties on the line who the call was for.The earliest selective system was the code ringing system, in which each telephone subscriber was assigned a specific ringing cadence, (not to be confused with modern ring tones).Although various systems were implemented, one that limited the number of coded rings but established a uniform and readily understood format, was to first give the subscriber number as individual digits, which could be from one to four digits long per exchange, separated by the instructional word "ring" followed by the two digits of the ring code where the first digit indicated the number of long rings, followed by the second digit indicating the number of short rings.(The two examples cited in this paragraph are taken directly from usage in the 1935 American film Party Wire.) Again, however, it should be noted, whilst this practice was common, it was not ubiquitous, since despite giving a standard configuration for terse, easily interpreted numbers with their respective ring codes, its chief functional drawback was with the first ring always being long and the second always being short, this limited the number of brief and thus practical ringing combinations that could be used on single multiparty subscriber numbers.Further to this functional deficiency, was a twofold practical deficiency.Party lines in the United States were ineligible for Universal Service Fund subsidies and telephone companies converted them to private lines to benefit from the subsidies.Universities also phased out the systems, which were once common in student dormitories.
More selective ringing methods were introduced using various technologies.Three short rings signified the call was for the party with the S letter and so on.To signal specific subscribers on party lines selectively, telephone operating companies implemented various signaling systems.The new telephone exchange equipment offered vertical service code calling features such as call forwarding and call waiting, but often was incompatible with multi-party lines.In 1971, Southern Bell had announced plans for phase-out of party lines in North Carolina.