The telephone is one of those items that has changed drastically throughout the years. Even the cell phone has gone through quite the metamorphosis. You can probably find one of your oldest 1950s or ’60s home telephones in your basement! A lot of us are in disbelief that phones used to look that way after what we use on a regular basis today.
Although commonly believed, research shows that both dial phones and non-dial phones existed as early as the ’20s and ’30s. Additionally, “candlestick” phones may have been common in the ’50s but are found to date back as early as the 1920s. From the 1920s to the 2000s, here is what phones looked like the decade you were born. Can you recall having this specific type of home phone?
The telephone was invented in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell. In the 1920s, the telephone had a separate mouthpiece and receiver to use. Newer versions of this design had the dial on the front so users so could make calls a lot quicker. Additionally, prior to the ’20s, you had to contact an operator first who could connect the call for you. Those were the days!
By the 1930s, it was pretty common to see rotary dial phones in people’s homes. A lot of people would deem this phone to be the first “modern” phone of the decades gone by since you would speak and listen from the same unit, not separate pieces!
Telephones would evolve even more by the 1940s and become a lot more comfortable to use. Users could comfortably grasp the hand around the phone and fit the receiver nicely against their ear. In the ’40s, it was actually considered a ‘luxury’ to have a phone in your house. A lot of people would actually use public phones.
From the ’40s into the ’50s, the design of the phone didn’t change too much (although the above photo shows a pretty sleek design). The mechanics, however, did change.
You can see that the numbers and letters are placed outside of the rotary, so people could view them a lot easier when dialing. It also had adjustable volume control.
Read onto the NEXT page to see how much the telephone would change from the ’70s to the 2000s!