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Offering a set of two (2) ashtrays advertising a business in Chicago, Illinois which no longer exists.
The United States national phone system (under the “old” AT
& T/Bell Telephone Company monopoly) was tied to central office telephone
exchanges starting in 1917. Under this system, telephone numbers started with
the capitalized letters abbreviated from the full name of the local exchange
tied to that number. So, MUlberry 5-8328 (later adapted as simply MU5-8328),
was the individual phone number of 5-8328 tied to the Mulberry central office
telephone exchange. This is the reason we have letters assigned to the numbers
on phone keypads to this day.
The system of assigning the first two capitalized letters of
the exchange name (dialing the numbers corresponding with those letters),
followed by five numerical digits, began in the 1940s and was phased out by the
mid to late 1960s.
This system dates these ashtrays as falling somewhere within that time period.