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Speed dial is a function that is available on telephones which provides an easy method of calling a telephone number by pressing fewer digits on the keypad. The tool enables one to save, organize, and have easy and quick access to regularly dialed numbers.
Speed dial was introduced in the early 1960s, and was displayed at the Bell Systems Pavilion at the 1962 World's Fair. This system used punch cards to store the phone numbers, and when someone wished to dial a particular number, the corresponding punch card was fed through a slot on the phone and dialed automatically.
However, speed dial did not become common until the 1980s when touch tone phones had become commonplace. The electronic touch tone phones made it possible for individuals to program and re-program speed dial numbers as needed. Typically, a phone number could be assigned to each digit, one through nine, and then to dial that phone number, one would hit a "speed dial" button followed by the corresponding number on the keypad. It was also common for phones to have specific speed dial buttons intended for emergency services.
With the rise in use of cell phones, speed dial is not as commonly used, as most people simply choose what number they wish to call from their contacts list.