Retro Rotary Phones

Retro Rotary Phones

I recently ran across this stash of rotary phones at the local antique mall. I’m old enough to remember having a wall-hanging rotary phone in our kitchen back when I was a kid. For years at work we had a red rotary phone that we dubbed “the emergency presidential phone.” We kept it around for years and used it to plug into random phone jacks to see if they were live or not.

On my desk at home I have a black rotary phone. I don’t even have a phone jack in my home office (cordless phones and Skype replaced the need for one), but I just like the look of it. Quick, call the operator! Swoop, click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click.

A few years ago a friend of mine asked me to keep an eye out for a rotary phone for a project he was working on. I found one, boxed it up, and shipped it to New York. A few months later, he sent me a link to this video. I think it was totally worth it.

Did you have a rotary phone in your home growing up? Do you have one now?

Rob O'Hara

I'm into old video games, old arcade games, old computer games, writing, photography, computer/network security, and of course, the 1980s!

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Indeed we did have a rotary phone in my childhood home. Ah, the memories of that mustard yellow amongst the kitchen white. Man, did they make some shitty color decisions back then in the 70’s. Every call a crap shoot…no caller ID, no *69, no one really had unlisted numbers, no bloody telemarketers…just a prank call on occasion. Go get yourself that extra long cord if you actually wanted to move around while you chatted…oh, you goddamn kids, you got it so easy now. :)

  2. Awesome! I’m still a fan of these old rotary dial phones. You mention having a red one at work a few years ago. I actually have a red one in my Commodore room. You can see it pictured here:

    As for your friends video, that’s rad. At first I thought it was stop motion, then I realized he must have done a rotary phone RC Car mod or something. Pretty cool!

  3. What was it about the 70’s that the phones came in such horrid colors? mustard yellow, olive green…and I believe they came from the phone company so you could only get a new one from them. Kids don’t know how lucky they got it…you were lucky if the phone cord stretched 2 feet.

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