What's Black and White and NOT read all over... apparently the venerable phone book. Not the white pages, which is why regulators have begun granting telecommunications companies the go-ahead to stop mass-printing residential phone books, a musty fixture of Americans' kitchen counters, refrigerator tops and junk drawers.
Phone companies note that eliminating residential white pages would reduce environmental impact by using less paper and ink. It also can't hurt their bottom lines to cut out the cost of a service that rarely gets used and generates little beyond nostalgia.
The first telephone directory was issued in February 1878 – a single page that covered 50 customers in New Haven, Conn. That sheet grew into a book that became virtually a household appliance, listing numbers for neighbors, friends and colleagues, not to mention countless potential victims of prank calls.