How Do You Page Someone?

Paging someone requires first dialing the ten-digit pager phone number, waiting for a tone and then entering the phone number you are calling from or short message followed by the pound sign. As a small communication device popular in the late 20th century, the pager is all but obsolete with the advent of cellular phone service.

A pager allows a user to receive messages sent over specific radio frequencies. The Detroit Police Department used the first system similar to the pager in 1921. Inventor Al Gross patented the first telephone pager in 1949. New York City’s Jewish Hospital was the first to use the device.

The Federal Communications Commission did not approve the pager for public use until 1958. Motorola first coined the term “pager” in 1959.

By 1980, there were 3.2 million pager users in the world. They were still mainly used for on-site purposes in places such as hospitals. Wide-area paging became available by 1990 with more than 22 million pagers in use. By 1994, that number jumped to 61 million as the pager provided an inexpensive way to communicate with someone who didn’t have access to a phone.

As of 2014, very few companies still produce pagers. Most one-way pagers have been replaced by two-way pagers.