I have a bit of a thing for old technology. I have a couple of fat-bellied old AM Radio that are fairly useless in that there is practically nothing on AM radio these days- and I hear that those wavelengths will be gone like your old TV channels, so they may be even more relics than they are now.
I also love old phones. I first got one back in the mid nineties at an antique store in Long Beach- one of those big, clunky black ones that Lucy had in her living room and was always taking one earring off to answer. I proudly put it by my bed, which turned out not to be the best decision. These phones were built when a house had one phone- a second extension was a luxury that was quite expensive thanks to Ma Bell. Those phones were usually in a little nook in the front hall and had a ringer loud enough to wake the house. Or, when it’s six inches from your slumbering head, the dead, as I found out one morning when The Times called at 7am sharp to offer a better subscription rate.
Growing up we had the obligatory harvest gold dial phone in the kitchen, and a fancy French looking thing in my parent’s room. Presumably with a soft ringer. This phone was a bit of a bone of contention- it was owned by my parents (my dad bought it in Europe) but Ma Bell insisted upon treating it like a rental phone and charging us the same as the rental on the one they leased us in the kitchen. Such was life under Ma Bell- don’t like it? Try two tin cans and a string.
Over the years I have collected a couple of more- Lord knows what I will do with them. I have a pink and a blue princess phone (I suppose to make that Doris and Rock statement in the boudoir, a gold and ivory “Imperial” phone that used to be my primary at my old apartment, and one that I got for cheap on eBay a few months ago- a pink trimline with a rotary dial. This for an apartment that no longer has a land line.
As far as the rotary dials go- I kind of love them. I love especially on the trimline how they had to figure out how to make it fit into the smaller form of that phone. Henry Dreyfuss was the designer of all of Western Electric phones for years and you can see the thought that went into his designs- the 302 (the black one in the photos) was pretty, but in his revision, the sleeker 500 series was not only more colorful, but more useful. The flat surface of the handset meant that you could comfortably cradle the phone between your shoulder and head, which you could not in the older one. The princess was a runaway hit as was the trimline, especially in the touch-tone models.
Of course time marches on, and these are fast becoming relics. I can still remember my godchild at 12 or so when asking if she could call home looking with blank consternation at the rotary dial of my living room phone. I am told that with the new phone lines that some of these won’t work at all without major modifications. And of course I dropped the little used land-line because it was a needless expense.
I will miss the sound of that real bell, though. Well, not when it’s six inches from my head.
Do you collect old items? Cookware? Pottery? Discuss in the comments.
Photos are mine and from Pexels