Phone phreaks

Sun Jun 8 08:44:09 UTC 2003

rkmck at EARTHLINK.NET,Net writes:
>>  > "phreaking" dates back at least to the 1970's, although I
>>>  have no written
>>>  citation.  A man I knew from about 1974 to 1978 boasted to me
>>>  of being a "phone
>>  > phreak".

>I can't think of his name just now, but a guy who went by Captain
>Crunch developed an electronic phone beeper with which someone could
>make free phone calls by fooling the telephone lines into connecting
>to a long distance signal.  They were called blue boxes.  The folks
>who used these gadgets were called phone phreaks.  This was at least
>in the early 70s.

The OED, as mentioned earlier, has

The Post Office was trying to break up a ring of 'phone phreaks' who
are cheating the telephone service.  _Daily Telegraph_, April 15, 1972,
p 3

Another from the same article for the verb and yet another from October
9, 1972 for the noun.  Doesn't this suggest that it might well have
been earlier?


barnhart at

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