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Post# 1034092   5/31/2019 at 23:56 (267 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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A gracious good afternoon!

 





Post# 1034093 , Reply# 1   5/31/2019 at 23:57 (267 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Part Three

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All about vintage telephones up to 1989. Advertisements, humor, history, collections, equipment, restoration/repair, technical questions, resources or just plain memories, it's all here. While emphasis is placed on American telephones, vintage telephones from around the world are also most welcomed.

 

"Hello central???"

 

Part One:

www.automaticwasher.org/c...

 

Part Two:

www.automaticwasher.org/c...


Post# 1034095 , Reply# 2   6/1/2019 at 00:03 (267 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1964

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Bell Telephone System 1964


Post# 1034096 , Reply# 3   6/1/2019 at 00:06 (267 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
In-Flite Products INC. 1969

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In-Flite Products INC. 1969


Post# 1034097 , Reply# 4   6/1/2019 at 00:08 (267 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1960

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Bell Telephone System 1960


Post# 1035225 , Reply# 5   6/13/2019 at 10:19 (254 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1955

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Western Electric 1955


Post# 1035226 , Reply# 6   6/13/2019 at 10:21 (254 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1955

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Bell Telephone System 1955


Post# 1035563 , Reply# 7   6/17/2019 at 17:06 (250 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1923

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Western Electric 1923


Post# 1036657 , Reply# 8   6/29/2019 at 13:09 (238 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
American Telephone & Telegraph Company 1917

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American Telephone & Telegraph Company 1917


Post# 1036658 , Reply# 9   6/29/2019 at 13:11 (238 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Telephone & Electronics 1962

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General Telephone & Electronics 1962


Post# 1036659 , Reply# 10   6/29/2019 at 13:12 (238 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1957

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Western Electric 1957


Post# 1037441 , Reply# 11   7/7/2019 at 20:12 (230 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1964

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Bell Telephone System 1964


Post# 1037442 , Reply# 12   7/7/2019 at 20:14 (230 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1949

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Bell Telephone System 1949


Post# 1037680 , Reply# 13   7/10/2019 at 00:00 (228 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1037874 , Reply# 14   7/11/2019 at 12:54 (226 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Northwestern Bell Telephone, 1939

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Post# 1038920 , Reply# 15   7/21/2019 at 08:23 (217 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1963

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Bell Telephone System 1963


Post# 1038921 , Reply# 16   7/21/2019 at 08:26 (217 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell System 1957

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Bell System 1957


Post# 1039570 , Reply# 17   7/27/2019 at 08:26 (211 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell System 1975

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Bell System 1975


Post# 1039572 , Reply# 18   7/27/2019 at 08:28 (211 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Telephone & Electronics 1962

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General Telephone & Electronics 1962


Post# 1039575 , Reply# 19   7/27/2019 at 08:32 (211 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
American Telephone & Telegraph Co. 1909

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American Telephone & Telegraph Co. 1909


Post# 1039576 , Reply# 20   7/27/2019 at 08:36 (211 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
AT&T 1984

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AT&T 1984


Post# 1039603 , Reply# 21   7/27/2019 at 12:54 (210 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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Those commemorative Olympics phones are downright fugly, but the handsets on them remind me of Alexis Carrington-Colby-Dexter removing an earring prior to taking a call.

 

The see-through phone in the 114 million ad is, I think, the only 2500 model I've ever seen without a modular mounting cord.


Post# 1039605 , Reply# 22   7/27/2019 at 13:17 (210 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1960

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Bell Telephone System 1960


Post# 1039606 , Reply# 23   7/27/2019 at 13:25 (210 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1925

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Western Electric 1925


Post# 1039607 , Reply# 24   7/27/2019 at 13:32 (210 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1968

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Western Electric 1968


Post# 1039611 , Reply# 25   7/27/2019 at 13:47 (210 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1950

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Western Electric 1950


Post# 1041982 , Reply# 26   8/17/2019 at 06:27 (190 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Telephone & Electronics 1962

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General Telephone & Electronics


Post# 1041983 , Reply# 27   8/17/2019 at 06:30 (190 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bilt-Well 1937

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Bilt-Well 1937


Post# 1041984 , Reply# 28   8/17/2019 at 06:31 (190 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
AT&T 1968

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AT&T 1968


Post# 1041985 , Reply# 29   8/17/2019 at 06:34 (190 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1949

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Bell Telephone System 1949


Post# 1041986 , Reply# 30   8/17/2019 at 06:35 (190 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell System 1976

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Bell System 1976


Post# 1042014 , Reply# 31   8/17/2019 at 11:46 (189 days old) by RP2813 (Sannazay)        

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OK, that blue "Design Line" phone is just hideous. 


Post# 1042034 , Reply# 32   8/17/2019 at 15:52 (189 days old) by SudsMaster (East of SF, West of Eden, California)        

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I remember one apartment we lived in SF in the 60's, had a little nook with a shelf in the entry hall, just big enough for a telephone. Of course, with a telephone outlet as well. There wasn't enough room for a chair, so I remember having to stand there to talk to my girlfriend while my nosy little sister stood there, staring and eavesdropping. Eventually in a fit of economy, Mom cancelled the phone service and I used the pay phone in a nearby gas station. Again, had to stand! Good times!



Post# 1042041 , Reply# 33   8/17/2019 at 16:38 (189 days old) by CircleW (NE Cincinnati OH area)        

Prior to the interior demolition of my house, the entry hall had a recessed telephone shelf. It was just a homemade plywood box trimmed out with casing to match that on the doors and windows. It stuck into the coat closet about a foot. A phone jack was installed at the rear of the enclosure.

That part of the house is still the entry, but the walls have been moved a couple feet to have a larger living room (formerly the kitchen).


Post# 1042057 , Reply# 34   8/17/2019 at 18:21 (189 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1959

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Western Electric 1959


Post# 1042058 , Reply# 35   8/17/2019 at 18:23 (189 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Radio Shack 1985

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Radio Shack 1985


Post# 1042059 , Reply# 36   8/17/2019 at 18:24 (189 days old) by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1957

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Bell Telephone System 1957


Post# 1043003 , Reply# 37   8/29/2019 at 04:09 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1960

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Bell Telephone System 1960


Post# 1043004 , Reply# 38   8/29/2019 at 04:10 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1940

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Western Electric 1940

 

 


Post# 1043005 , Reply# 39   8/29/2019 at 04:26 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
AT&T 1972

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AT&T 1972


Post# 1043086 , Reply# 40   8/29/2019 at 18:11 by kd12 (Arkansas)        
Gossip benches

I remember seeing these or some variant of same everywhere growing up. More common than telephone nooks, even in old houses. Most dated from the late '40s/50s era.

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Post# 1043092 , Reply# 41   8/29/2019 at 18:33 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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I remember seeing new gossip benches in the 1970's, early 80's. I guess cordless phones killed it off.


Post# 1043155 , Reply# 42   8/30/2019 at 07:38 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
HA!

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A little known fact......
After digging to a depth of 10 feet last year outside Buffalo, New York, scientists found traces of copper cable dating back 100 years.

They came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone network more than 100 years ago
Not to be outdone by the New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, a Los Angeles, California archaeologist dug to a depth of 20 feet somewhere just outside Oceanside. Shortly afterward, a story in the LA Times read, "California archaeologists, reporting a finding of 200 year old copper cable, have concluded that their ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.
One week later, a local newspaper in Green Bay, Wisconsin reported, "After digging 30 feet deep in his pasture near the community of Sobieski, Wisconsin, Ole Olson, a heck of an engineer and a self-taught archaeologist, reported that he found absolutely nothing. Ole has therefore concluded that 300 years ago, Wisconsin had already gone wireless.
Just makes a person proud to be from Wisconsin!!!


Post# 1043376 , Reply# 43   8/31/2019 at 09:38 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Automatic Electric 1910

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Automatic Electric 1910


Post# 1043473 , Reply# 44   9/1/2019 at 09:11 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1043483 , Reply# 45   9/1/2019 at 11:33 by jamiel (Detroit, Michigan)        

Interesting long distance ad in Illinois...believe Bloomington and Peoria are still independent (Frontier; formerly GTE). I had a funny experience 25 yrs ago...my grandfather grew up in Grand Mound, IA near Clinton. I was working for US Cellular and was visiting Davenport, IA and took a little field trip up to Grand Mound to see it. There was a little phone company in Grand Mound next door to a small insurance company...the phone company was much more advanced than I'd thought (actually embarrassed myself with some of the questions I asked) and some family had been on the board of the mutual insurance company.

Post# 1044076 , Reply# 46   9/7/2019 at 09:32 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Berliner Telephone Co. 1904

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Berliner Telephone Co. 1904


Post# 1044077 , Reply# 47   9/7/2019 at 09:37 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Berliner Telephone Co. 1905

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Berliner Telephone Co. 1905


Post# 1044079 , Reply# 48   9/7/2019 at 09:40 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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Came across this while minding my own business on Youtube.








Post# 1045331 , Reply# 49   9/18/2019 at 19:40 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1957

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Western Electric 1957

 

Exact phone my parents had in their bedroom when I was a kid. It resides now in Düsseldorf, Germany.


Post# 1045332 , Reply# 50   9/18/2019 at 19:44 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Telephone & Electronics 1961

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General Telephone &amp; Electronics 1961


Post# 1045489 , Reply# 51   9/20/2019 at 10:45 by ken (Ulster Hgts, NY)        
You mean I have to dial the number myself from now on!

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From 1936. We didn't get dial service home until 1966!
Always loved the sound the dial makes on those old phones.






Post# 1046488 , Reply# 52   10/1/2019 at 02:12 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Telephone & Electronics 1960

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General Telephone &amp; Electronics 1960


Post# 1046489 , Reply# 53   10/1/2019 at 02:13 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Pacific Telephone 1955

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Pacific Telephone 1955


Post# 1046490 , Reply# 54   10/1/2019 at 02:15 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
AT&T 1967

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AT&amp;T 1967


Post# 1046491 , Reply# 55   10/1/2019 at 02:16 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Western Electric 1965


Post# 1048598 , Reply# 56   10/23/2019 at 19:04 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Telephone & Electronics 1960

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General Telephone &amp; Electronics 1960


Post# 1048599 , Reply# 57   10/23/2019 at 19:06 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
AT&T 1967

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AT&amp;T 1967


Post# 1048600 , Reply# 58   10/23/2019 at 19:08 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1949

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Bell Telephone System 1949


Post# 1048601 , Reply# 59   10/23/2019 at 19:10 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1960

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Western Electric 1960


Post# 1049468 , Reply# 60   10/30/2019 at 19:14 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Electric 1984

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General Electric 1984


Post# 1049469 , Reply# 61   10/30/2019 at 19:15 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1962

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Bell Telephone System 1962


Post# 1049470 , Reply# 62   10/30/2019 at 19:17 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
American Telephone and Telegraph Company 1911

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American Telephone and Telegraph Company 1911


Post# 1049471 , Reply# 63   10/30/2019 at 19:18 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
General Telephone & Electronics 1963

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General Telephone &amp; Electronics 1963


Post# 1050318 , Reply# 64   11/8/2019 at 13:58 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Western Electric 1965

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Western Electric 1965


Post# 1050319 , Reply# 65   11/8/2019 at 14:01 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
American Telephone & Telegraph Company 1923

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American Telephone &amp; Telegraph Company 1923


Post# 1051473 , Reply# 66   11/18/2019 at 06:16 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1937

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Bell Telephone System 1937


Post# 1051474 , Reply# 67   11/18/2019 at 06:17 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell Telephone System 1961

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Bell Telephone System 1961


Post# 1051475 , Reply# 68   11/18/2019 at 06:20 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
AT&T 1968

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AT&amp;T 1968


Post# 1051508 , Reply# 69   11/18/2019 at 13:13 by sarahperdue (Alabama)        
Convenient card dialer phone

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Was this ever a thing? Inquiring minds want to know more.

Sarah


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Post# 1051631 , Reply# 70   11/19/2019 at 11:29 by appliguy (Oakton Va.)        
Yes, Sarah there really was a card dialer telephone

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It was made for offices and the cards had the most frequently called phone number punched in them and you would insert the card in the slot push the button and the Card Dialer Phone would dial the number for you much quicker then you could do it by hand. PATRICK COFFEY

Post# 1051816 , Reply# 71   11/21/2019 at 03:47 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1051831 , Reply# 72   11/21/2019 at 07:42 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1051843 , Reply# 73   11/21/2019 at 08:35 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Ha!

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Post# 1052067 , Reply# 74   11/23/2019 at 09:20 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1052401 , Reply# 75   11/26/2019 at 18:24 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1054275 , Reply# 76   12/14/2019 at 12:02 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1054276 , Reply# 77   12/14/2019 at 12:05 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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How the Loss of the Landline Is Changing Family Life

The shared phone was a space of spontaneous connection for the entire household.

 

December 12, 2019

 

My tween will never know the sound of me calling her name from another room after the phone rings. She'll never sit on our kitchen floor, refrigerator humming in the background, twisting a cord around her finger while talking to her best friend. I'll get it, He's not here right now, and It's for you are all phrases that are on their way out of the modern domestic vernacular. According to the federal government, the majority of American homes now use cellphones exclusively. “We don't even have a landline anymore,” people began to say proudly as the new millennium progressed. But this came with a quieter, secondary loss—the loss of the shared social space of the family landline.

“The shared family phone served as an anchor for home,” says Luke Fernandez, a visiting computer-science professor at Weber State University and a co-author of Bored, Lonely, Angry, Stupid: Feelings About Technology, From the Telegraph to Twitter. “Home is where you could be reached, and where you needed to go to pick up your messages.” With smartphones, Fernandez says, “we have gained mobility and privacy. But the value of the home has been diminished, as has its capacity to guide and monitor family behavior and perhaps bind families more closely together.”

The home telephone was a communal invention from the outset. “When the telephone rang, friends and family gathered ’round, as mesmerized by its magic flow of electrons as they would later be by the radio,” according to Once Upon a Telephone, a lighthearted 1994 social history of the technology. After the advent of the telephone, in the late 19th century, and through the mid-20th century, callers relied on switchboard operators who knew their customers’ voices, party lines were shared by neighbors (who would often eavesdrop on one another's conversations), and phone books functioned as a sort of map of a community.

The early telephone’s bulky size and fixed location in the home made a phone call an occasion—often referred to in early advertisements as a “visit” by the person initiating the call. (One woman quoted in Once Upon a Telephone recalls the phone as having the “stature of a Shinto shrine” in her childhood home.) There was phone furniture—wooden vanities that housed phones in hallways of homes, and benches built for the speaker to sit on so they could give their full attention to the call. Even as people were defying time and space by speaking with someone miles away, they were firmly grounded in the space of the home, where the phone was attached to the wall.

Over the course of the 20th century, phones grew smaller, easier to use, and therefore less mystical and remarkable in their household presence. And with the spread of cordless phones in the 1980s, calls became more private. But even then, when making a call to another household’s landline, you never knew who would pick up. For those of us who grew up with a shared family phone, calling friends usually meant first speaking with their parents, and answering calls meant speaking with any number of our parents’ acquaintances on a regular basis. With practice, I was capable of addressing everyone from a telemarketer to my mother's boss to my older brother's friend—not to mention any relative who happened to call. Beyond developing conversational skills, the family phone asked its users to be patient and participate in one another’s lives.

Cellphones, which came on the market in the ’80s and gained popularity in the ’90s, rendered all of this obsolete as they displaced landlines. When kids today call “home,” they may actually be calling one parent and bypassing the other; friends and bosses and telemarketers (if they get through) usually reach exactly the person they are hoping to speak with. Who will be on the other end of the line is no longer a mystery.

What’s more, the calls, texts, and emails that pass through cellphones (and computers and tablets) can now be kept private from family members. “It keeps everybody separate in their own little techno-cocoons,” says Larry Rosen, a retired psychology professor at California State University at Dominguez Hills and a co-author of The Distracted Mind: Ancient Brains in a High-Tech World. Whereas early landlines united family members gathered in a single room, cellphones now silo them.

Cheryl Muller, a 59-year-old artist living in Brooklyn, raised her two sons, now 30 and 27, during the transition from landline to cellphone. “I do remember the shift from calling out ‘It's for you,’ and being aware of their friends calling, and then asking them what the call was about, to pretty much … silence,” she says. Caroline Coleman, 54, a writer in New York City whose children grew up during the same transition, recalls how at age 10 her son got a call from a man with a deep voice. “I was horrified. I asked who it was—and it was his first classmate whose voice had changed,” she said. “When you get cells, you lose that connection.”

These days, this dynamic is also often reversed. A shared family phone meant that kids overheard some of their parents’ conversations, providing a window into their relationships, but today, children frequently see a parent silently staring at a screen, fingers tapping, occasionally furrowing a brow or chuckling. “Sometimes there are people that I've never even heard of that you're texting,” my 11-year old once told me. Sherry Turkle, a professor at MIT and the author of Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, has described this as “the new silences of family life.”

Central to the smartphone’s pull is the fact that it is not just a phone. The original telephone was designed exclusively for the back-and-forth rhythm of speaking and listening, while today’s phones perform that function and so many others. “When it was just a phone, you could only have one conversation at a time,” says Mary Ellen Love, a teacher in New Jersey who raised two sons—22 and 24—during the landline era, and is now raising an 11-year-old daughter named Grace. “Now Grace can look at [her phone] and be involved in five conversations in a second.”

“Nobody had separation-anxiety issues when they walked out of the house without their [landline] phone,” says Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical psychologist and a co-author of The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age. “Nobody used to say that their princess phone was their life. It's not your phone—it's the news, it's YouTube, it's your bank account, it's shopping … You can engage in every aspect of your life, and some of that is wonderful.”

Meanwhile, the physical medium of communication has shifted from telephone poles, visually linking individual homes, to the elusive air. The environment of each call has shifted from a living room or a kitchen to anywhere, and as a result, callers spend time placing each other: In the early days of the phone, they often asked, “Are you there?,” but now they have graduated to “Where are you?” When people look up after whiling away time in their virtual homes—their homepages, their home screens—they must adjust back to their physical surroundings. “You don't lose yourself in the same way when you're talking on the phone on the wall,” says Steiner-Adair. “You don't lose your sense of where you are in time and space.”

Plenty of people don’t lament the passing of the family phone. Michael Muller, the 27-year-old son of Cheryl, the artist in Brooklyn, says he enjoys the constant proximity of a cellphone and prefers texting over calling, which he says people only use when they want to “extract an answer.” “Text is so much easier to take as much time as you want to think about it,” he told me. If he has kids, he’s not sure he’ll get a landline for his family to share.

Even in its infancy, the telephone wasn't always celebrated. Its rise prompted a London editor in the late 19th century to ask, “What will become of the privacy of life? What will become of the sanctity of the domestic hearth?” Some viewed the phone as supernatural (they struggled to understand how sound could travel through wire) or impractical (aboveground phone lines in the early days were often highly obtrusive). When people first shouted into phones, they felt awkward, as though they were performing.

Even as the family phone recedes into history a century and a half later, we can preserve the togetherness it promoted in other ways. Rosen, the psychology professor, says that “creating special family time is really critical,” and Turkle writes of the importance of device-free “sacred” spaces in the home. The family phone was hardly a necessary ingredient for family bonding.

And perhaps the spirit of the family phone can live on. Margaret Klein, an educational researcher living in New Jersey and a mother of three girls, ages 6, 9, and 11, has tried to ease into giving her daughters their own phones. Her girls share a stripped-down cellphone with no internet access, and call it “the family phone.” When her oldest went to a ballet program in Manhattan this summer, she brought it. Klein’s 9-year-old has used it a few times to text her camp friends. But “it always goes back and lives in its place at the end of the day,” she tells me—right next to their landline in the living room.

Indeed, even as smartphones have taken over, some people stand by their landlines. “I mainly want to keep it because it works when there is no power,” says Peter Eavis, a New York City–based journalist in his 50s and a father of two. “And as a veteran of 9/11, an actual NYC blackout, Hurricane Irene, and Superstorm Sandy, it gives me comfort.”

But Eavis’s landline is on its way to being an anomaly, and a generation of children who never had one are coming of age. Eventually, for those who enjoyed—or at least grew accustomed to—the sound of a communal phone ringing in their homes, a moment of silence will be in order.



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Post# 1054350 , Reply# 78   12/15/2019 at 15:43 by countryford (Phoenix, AZ)        

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The first sentence of the article; "My tween will never know the sound of me calling her name from another room after the phone rings.". Whose fault is that? It isn't my fault, it isn't your neighbors fault. It would be your fault. Landlines are still available. Landline phones are still being produced.
People like to complain about how technology is changing people and how kids are always on their phones and blah blah blah. In the end, if they wouldn't buy their 3 year old an I-phone or fall for all this "Got to have the newest and the best" then they would have to find something else to complain about.


Post# 1054377 , Reply# 79   12/15/2019 at 19:01 by iej (Ireland)        
Seems they're in the terminal stage of decline here too.

It hit me this year with Christmas cards.

My mom passed away last year (relatively young) and so did several elderly aunts in their 80s and 90s. They were all the type of people who'd have spent hours on the phone chatting away about just life in general and would make a point of calling each other. They were very much the nexuses of communication in my extended family and now they've all passed away and in relatively quick succession.

I decided I would make an effort to try and keep the connections alive, and I've been doing some of it through social media, but I thought I would write some Christmas cards. Every year, when I go home there's always a huge display of cards on the mantle piece on little fake washing lines. So, I decided to dig out the old cards and get the reply addresses. Seems most of them are just "Merry Xmas from Ann and Patrick" "Happy New Year, Love Mary." I have no idea who 80% of them are from and none of them have reply addresses.

I ran though some of the cards with my dad and brother and they recognised some of them but only had vague notions of where some of these people might live. Then I thought, hey I'll look them up in the phone book (online) and it seems that going ex-directory (unlisted) is the new fashion due to the death of landlines, the advent of a plague of telemarketers and general modern paranoia, so it's now impossible to find anyone either to call them or write to them. Whereas if you went back 25+ (maybe a little further) years ago most households had a landline and it was relatively unusual to be ex-directory (unlisted.)

I didn't grow up in the age of "Number Please!?" or even the days of electromechanical switching. I was born in the 80s and the digital age was well established, but I do have fond memories of a phone in the hall, even if they were modern and cordless they were physically there and you could reach a household, not just an individual.

I even remember having a proper tape-based answering machine and then some crazy network-based "Family Mailbox" on the phone where when you'd call our house you'd get "You've reached the Simpsons household -- if you want to leave a message for Marge press 1, for Homer press 2, for Bart press 3 or for Lisa press 4 and each of us had our own private mail box. You picked up the phone and got the worbelling dial tone and you could check a message in you.

I think though it's an era that we're never going to see again. The technology's moved on so rapidly in the past couple of decades and really landline services are probably going to end up as something that will really only be used in offices or similar environments or for niche uses where someone particularly wants one (and obviously all VoIP based). The rest of us are just using mobiles.

Coincidentally, I was reading an article about the decline of landline usage here in Ireland and while it has been happening it seems to be increasing exponentially in the last few years. A lot of broadband services here tended to come with a VoIP landline (the router will almost always have an analogue RJ11 port for phone jacks and sometimes even can host DECT cordless phones like a little mini PBX) but I know in my case I probably could count on my hand the number of times a year I have used that service. I'm not even sure I could recall the number without looking it up in my iPhone.

My landline provider / ISP also offers an iPhone / Android app to use your landline, but I mean why would you bother? I installed it and it was a gimmick fo ra few days and then I forgot I even had it.

They all initially had some notion that consumers would still want landline services and that they'd all just hop over to VoIP when older digital circuit switched (TDM) services shut down, but in reality many of those companies have scaled back their investments in fixed voice services as there's very little demand.

it's also increasingly difficult to even find mobile plans that don't have unlimited voice minutes, even on really cheap 9.99/month plans they're usually throwing in voice as almost an afterthought freebie and then you've free pan-EU roaming and all of that stuff to, so it's really pointless having a landline.

They seem to be going the same way as payphones, hotel phones, fax machines and teletype. An era has very much ended.

It looks like we'll have a world where offices will be connected with SIP trunks and the majority of the rest of us aren't going to use anything other than our smartphones.. sigh.


Post# 1054378 , Reply# 80   12/15/2019 at 19:11 by iej (Ireland)        
Store the devices!

I'd just add if you do still have landline equipment - wireline phones, cordless phones, answering machines, faxes, etc keep them. I've a feeling in a few decades time we'll be looking at those devices with huge nostalgia, even more so than looking back at the 50s and 60s from today as the technology will have changed so much that even the concept of having a device that was tied to a physical location will seem utterly alien. It already is!

I've put a few old 1970s/80s/90s phone related stuff into a box and sealed it in the attic. It's just a few typical phone company phones. One in the shape of an Irish map. A Sony integrated answering machine from the late 80s that took micro cassettes. A fax machine and a bunch of old modems and DSL modems and so on that were all around.

I also threw in the original Apple iBook and an old iMac from 1999!

I just thought it would be a rather cool time capsule when I (or someone else) opens it up in a few decades' time.


Post# 1054385 , Reply# 81   12/15/2019 at 19:45 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Landlines are vanishing. I thought it was really humorous that Peter Eavis thinks he won't be losing copper based phone service. He's utterly delusional or a made-up character for the story. Fiber optics are being forced of landline subscribers. Whether you like it or not. And fiber optic lines do not work in a power outage. Next month, I am being forced to switch to fiber optics. Verizon sent me a "stand by" power source that runs on 8 D size batteries. In a blackout, this only powers your phone line for a few hours. And that's it, unless you buy case loads of D batteries.  Last time we had a power failure it lasted 23 hours. There will always be a few holdouts for "landline" service. But we are a dying breed. I highly doubt anyone born in the last few years will ever have a landline in their home.


Post# 1054391 , Reply# 82   12/15/2019 at 20:26 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I'll keep my landline and rotary dial phone if power is out. Spotty if best for cell service for big bucks here. Not worth it.

Post# 1054424 , Reply# 83   12/16/2019 at 05:15 by iej (Ireland)        

I heard some recordings of the old operators here in the 1970s or 80s and it was just quite amusing to hear the language used.

Message in quite posh accent : “Operator services. Your call has been placed in a queue and will be answered in STRICT rotation, please hold the line!” “Your call is still in a queue. Please continue to hold and your call will be answered by the next available operator, in STRICT rotation!”

“National Operator! Hello caller? Can I help you?.” “Could you reverse charges to 091 234 xxx please?” “Just a moment caller! What’s your name please for the call? Trying that number now! Ring ring .... ring ring ... “hello! This is the national operator, I have John on the line (hello Mammy!!) - will you accept charges from John ? ... “yes! ... “ “thank you caller - you can go ahead now - goodbye!”

It was all rather prim and starchy sounding, constantly addressing the person as “caller”.


Post# 1054428 , Reply# 84   12/16/2019 at 06:23 by retro-man (nashua,nh - boston,ma)        

What I don't do is keep my cell phone on me at all times in the house. When it rings I am not usually near it and have to go searching for the phone. With the land lines we used to have phones all over the house and would just pick up the closest one. I feel I have gone backwards in time to when I was a child and we had 1 phone in the house for all to use. I know 2 steps forward 1 backward.

Jon


Post# 1054430 , Reply# 85   12/16/2019 at 06:51 by iej (Ireland)        

I think though the general focus on voice services is fading. People are increasingly less likely to want to take calls and that’s being made worse by the plague or scam calls that some people seem to be getting hit with.

What I’ve noticed in Ireland, and I can’t say that this applies elsewhere, is that ever since caller ID became ubiquitous (late 80s or early 90s?) people started to become a lot more circumspect about picking up the phone to numbers they didn’t recognize. Then people started not listing in the directories at all. That was followed by an increasingly expectation that people to contact by text as a first point of contact be it SMs, iMessage, WhatsApp or whatever else, people don’t seem to want to pick up their phone as much as they used to.

Even in a business environment, I would say 60% or more of my communication is now by instant message of some sort and not voice.

I also notice a lot of people hide behind voicemail, and I am guilty of this myself. I gave a visual voicemail service called HulloMail that transcribes the messages to text and displays them so, if I get a call from someone I don’t recognise, I will tend to let it go to voicemail and get back to them if they’re not trying to sell me something. Even my outgoing message is “hi, you’ve reached .... I can’t take your call right now, please send a text or leave a message when you hear the beep” to discourage people from leaving endless voicemails.

Even in my office I don’t think any of us use our desk phones. I’m not even sure what my number is. I’ve some big fancy Alcatel VoIP phone from a few years ago sitting on my desk. It has more functions than your average 1990s PC had but I’d say 3% or the company knows how any of them work and I don’t think anyone has ever used them. I mean have you ever forwarded a voicemail message to another user or setup a distribution list!? They always seem to have been solutions in search of a problems and tech that came to market just as the world was moving on to smartphones.

I’m in two minds about all of this. In some ways we’re far more in touch than ever before. I can keep in contact with people all over the planet , with voice, text, video, send photos etc etc we basically no charge and I do it all the time. The costs are tiny compared to what they used to be. I mean if you go back to even the 1990s the cost of long distance calls was steep, mobile calls were very expensive and international calls were usually so expensive that you’d think twice before even contemplating a fall abroad. Nowadays I can FaceTime from Ireland to NZ for 4 hours and it doesn’t cost me anything extra. That’s a completely different world of telecommunications.

So yeah, I’m nostalgic but at the same time what we have today is absolutely incredible. Even this forum - I’m posting this message on my phone, sitting in a cafe in a remote part of Ireland looking out over the mountains and admiring the light sprinkling of snow, on blazingly fast 4G that has more bandwidth to my phone than an entire mid sized town had 20 years ago. You’re potentially reading this on similar tech in remote parts of the US, Canada, Australia, Latin America etc.
The tech is absolutely amazing but we take it for granted, even though it’s all happened so quickly.



Post# 1055115 , Reply# 86   12/22/2019 at 09:23 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
Bell System 1940

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Bell System 1940


Post# 1055120 , Reply# 87   12/22/2019 at 10:02 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1055129 , Reply# 88   12/22/2019 at 11:10 by imperial70 (******)        
Telephone Museum

Is in Waltham. Thank you for posting "this day in history..." I would never have known there is a telephone museum not to far from where I live.

Post# 1055131 , Reply# 89   12/22/2019 at 11:23 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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You're welcome Paul.


Post# 1055325 , Reply# 90   12/24/2019 at 01:54 by Ultramatic (New York City)        
The Bell Telephone Company 1949

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The Bell Telephone Company 1949


Post# 1055372 , Reply# 91   12/24/2019 at 12:17 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1055587 , Reply# 92   12/26/2019 at 04:55 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1055601 , Reply# 93   12/26/2019 at 08:10 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1056032 , Reply# 94   12/31/2019 at 05:57 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1056036 , Reply# 95   12/31/2019 at 06:24 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

This was the STUPIDEST move in TELCO history-the ONLY "monopoly" that functioned well and folks the were NOT qualified made the decision!The Judges should have been strung up by their thumbs!

Post# 1056127 , Reply# 96   1/1/2020 at 08:34 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1056130 , Reply# 97   1/1/2020 at 09:03 by imperial70 (******)        
Dec 31 1983

There is another spin to this that isn't so sad.
- Helped revitalize the computer industry as the Unix operating system was ready to emerge and allow for a true open operating environment that made it easier to share information between different platforms.
- AT&T was able to spread their wings into other areas and help spark start up companies.
- The "internet boom" may have been delayed for quite a while without the break-up.



Post# 1056185 , Reply# 98   1/1/2020 at 18:13 by iej (Ireland)        

I'd suspect without the breakup of AT&T and also the opening of competition in Europe (which was what drove the development of GSM and subsequently the real cellphone revolution) you'd have had stale old monopolies driving both of those sectors without much innovation.

In a way AT&T / Bell was a great organisation (as were some of its counterparts elsewhere) but I think we tend to look back on those days through heavily nostalgia tinted glasses too. The services may have been high quality (at least in the denser populated areas) but they were extremely expensive. I mean, if you look back to the 1970s and 80s things like international calling and even long-distance calling were ludicrously expensive.

I would strongly suspect what would have happened without those breakups would have been the delay or failure to thrive of the internet. You'd have had some Bell System Networks counterpart that would have been managed by AT&T in the US and you'd have had similar in Europe. I mean, look at how PTT/France Telecom developed a privately managed network system called Minitel back in the late 70s and into the 1980s. It was innovative, but only within its own walled garden.

I would argue that the biggest downsides in the US system at the moment isn't the advent of competition, but rather the failure of regulators in recent years. The FCC needs a lot more teeth to prevent the growth of monopolies, particularly in areas like internet access, and that has not been done. If anything it's been a lot more aggressively pursued in the EU over the last decade or so, with the US starting to really allow regulatory systems to be swamped by powerful business lobbies.

Without effective regulation, in an imperfect market, you will always have huge distortions and risks of monopoly and oligopoly and that makes for bad capitalism and unfortunately, that's what I'm seeing in the US with the lack of choice in a lot of markets when it comes to things like high speed ISPs.

Monopolists aren't benevolent or operating in your interests. They're not public bodies. They just have you over a barrel and need to be regulated and competition needs to be kept strong.


Post# 1056354 , Reply# 99   1/3/2020 at 06:14 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Post# 1056365 , Reply# 100   1/3/2020 at 07:21 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
My phone bills didn't drop

with the breakup of AT&T. We got circles from MCI, etc., etc. and within a year they were right back up.
I say the whole thing was a money grab by wall street, etc. AT&T stock was among the most valued then. Sellers sold it high, then bought Ameritech, etc. shares for much less. Everything began to decline after 1982. Sears stock, which used to rise, then split, doubling your shares, then rise, split agian. Their employees were also able to retire comfortably because of that if they had bought enough stock in addition to matched profit sharing. The middle class also began declining then. Do the math, follow the money. Sure you can make money if you know how to play the markets, but many of us were too young with too little to invest then, and we are now young seniors and part of that new poverty segment because 401k's and retirement saving had to be tapped too early afer the 2008 crash and last recession.


Post# 1056552 , Reply# 101   1/5/2020 at 06:32 by Ultramatic (New York City)        

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Part Four:

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