Can anyone tell me info about this rotary phone I bought?

Bought at a rummage sale and was wondering when and where it's from and how to tell how old this is.  

Attachment image

5 Answers

  • Dale-E
    Lv 7
    1 month ago
    Best Answer

    Notice the red button installed on the back corner. This is likely a test set constructed for a local switch board. With this, all phones tied to a line are rung with the crank. If there are defects on the line, some of them can be stressed with this special made box. Quality tests into a test board and line identification in a cable closet with various adapters plugged onto it could be helpful in an emerging technology where standards were not known yet and changed from location to location. The red button, cord n plug, and dial are later adaptations to its original manufacture, leading me to call it a home made test set.

    These phones, in their original design, were not in the least mobile instruments. They were fastened down with solid wire coming up from below.

    Source(s): Started my electronic skill sets working open wire pole line circuits that used instruments similar to this one.
  • Joe
    Lv 5
    2 weeks ago

    That's pretty funny...everyone has a different answer.  To me it looks like one of those novelty phones from the 80's made to look like an antique.

  • 3 weeks ago


  • 1 month ago

    Early-to-mid 80s.  In 1982 the courts broke up AT&T's nationwide monopoly on phone service. The Bell System (called Ma Bell) was broken up into 9 regional services (called Baby Bells).  Before that decision, you couldn't BUY a telephone, you could only rent them from AT&T as part of your service.  But after 1982 you could buy your phone and just pay for the service. There were telephone stores where you could look at all different kinds of phones, and these 'retro' styles got popular. Also phones that looked like hamburgers and cartoon characters.

    This phone has a modular plug on it.  Back in the 60s, my mom wanted to get a system where we had one phone but different plugs around the house so she could use the phone in the living room or her bedroom for privacy.  In order to do this, you had to have a central bell installed that would ring even if the phone wasn't plugged in, PLUS you paid a monthly fee for every outlet in the house!  This phone looks like something from the WWI era, but of course phones in that time didn't have modular plugs.  Or a dial, for that matter.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 month ago

    It's European, either Italian or French. Considering it has both a crank and a dial and a straight cord it is probably mid 1950's.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.