Fact #1195: Phones have an asterisk and pound sign because when Bell Labs designed the first touch-tone phone, their system had two tones which were not assigned values. So, they threw in * and #.

Source: http://blog.solidsignal.com/content.php/457-Why-do-phones-have-the-*-and-buttons-(And-why-do-they-call-the-button-pound-)

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